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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

State of our campuses #1
2017-02-22

After yesterday’s disruption of academic activities on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS), a memorandum was handed to the UFS management by members of the Transitional Student Council (TSC) and the Free Education Movement (FEM) in the late afternoon.

Some disruption of classes occurred last night and again today. The university management handed a response on the memorandum to student leaders this afternoon.

Contingency plans for the safety and security of staff and students are still in place and members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) are on standby. The senior leadership continues to monitor the situation with the support and assistance of the SAPS and will deploy all lawful means to minimise disruption and maintain the academic programme.

The academic programme continues as normal. Any updates will be shared on the university’s communication platforms.

A voice clip has been circulating among UFS students since yesterday. The clip did not originate from the UFS. It has been in circulation at universities in the country for at least the past 12 months. UFS staff and students should not feel threatened by the content thereof.



Disruption of academic activities: 21 February 2017

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

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