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22 August 2018
Prof Coetzee is retelling old stories in a new book
"Failing to Learn Doomed to repeat" was one of the bookworks on display.

The title of Prof Jan K Coetzee’s latest book, Books & Bones & Other Things, says it all. The book looks into the many aspects that have built our society by presenting in a new way the stories contained in old books collected over the years. 

Prof Coetzee is a Senior Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Free State (UFS). Books & Bones & Other Things was launched on 14 August 2018 and coincided with an exhibition of various “bookworks”   art installations by Prof Coetzee that feature old books, sculptures, artefacts, and fossils.
 
Book resulting from research programme 
   

“This is a book on books so the library is the perfect venue to launch a book on old texts as documents of life,” said Prof Coetzee.

For the past seven years he has been directing a Master’s and PhD programme in Sociology called The Narrative Study of Lives. His project, Documents of Life, from which this book came, focuses on a collection of old texts the oldest of which dates back to 1605.

“We live in storytelling societies and for as long as we can remember we have been telling stories. Over time the ability to produce books was born. Any collection of books can tell you a lot about your own life and the society you live in."

“I cannot read the stories of many of these old books because their narratives are closed. I have to re-narrate the books, change the narrative convention and present them in a way that makes sense to me. By combining the books with art and artefacts I want the books to tell their ancient stories in new ways.”

Book launches and intellectual discussions

At the book launch, Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research said: “What we have achieved with this launch and exhibition is unbelievable. We always try to create an intellectual space in the library.

“A book such as this is the pinnacle of an academic career. It is multidisciplinary and it looks at the world in a different way. That is what scholarship is about.”

A painting by Robert Hodgins was also handed over to the Johannes Stegmann Gallery, home of the corporate collection of the UFS, at the event. 

News Archive

New champions crowned at first-year athletics
2017-02-03

Description:UFS first-year athletics  Tags: UFS first-year athletics  longdesc=

It was a day filled with excitement on and off the
track when the residences at the University of
the Free State competed against each other
during the first-year athletics event.
Photo: Charl Devenish

The University of the Free State’s first-year athletics is an institution. It is a day marked by colour, spirit, and hoarse voices, but in 2017 produced something different than the last couple of years.

For the first time in four years, new athletics champions were crowned in both the men’s and women’s sections when Veritas and Sonnedou walked away with the trophies at Pellies Park on the Bloemfontein Campus on 25 January 2017.

Wag-’n-Bietjie, Vishuis relinquish titles

Sonnedou, who came second in 2016, broke Wag-’n-Bietjie’s stronghold of the past six years by winning the women’s athletics trophy. Furthermore, Sonnedou won this trophy more than a decade ago – in 2004. Veritas, who won the men’s athletics trophy for the first time since 2011, also put a stop to Vishuis’s dominance. House Abraham Fischer has worn the athletics crown for the past three years.

This year, Vishuis (70 points) took second place after Veritas (76), with Armentum (61) third. Sonnedou (99 points) easily triumphed in the women’s division, while Akasia (36) and Wag-?-Bietjie (34) respectively took second and third place.

Veritas captures overall Spirit trophy

However, the event is about much more than the action on and around the athletics track. First-years also get the opportunity to show pride in their residences by shouting at the top of their lungs.

Veritas, better-known in recent years for its excellent sêr groups, asserted itself even more by being named as the overall winner of the Spirit trophy. This residence was also the winner of the men’s section. Harmony won the Spirit trophy for women’s residences, while Conlaurês was the co-ed residence with the greatest spirit.

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