176pp., paperback, First SA Edition, Johannesburg, 2019
First published in the UK in 2019.
Carli Coetzee argues that "the younger generation of South Africans is developing important and innovative ways of understanding South African pasts, and that challenge the narratives that have over the last decades been informed by notions of forgiveness and reconciliation." from the back cover
"Carli Coetzee has made a name for herself by showing – not telling – her readers what reconciliation after apartheid should mean. It should mean nudging South Africans away from the dangerous assumptions that negotiating the past means leaving unchallenged old patterns of privilege, that the work of translation should always benefit English and its primary speakers, and, in her latest book, that skin-deep is sufficient depth for reckoning with the past. Written under the Skin is about blood and South Africa’s bloody past. It is also about the transfusion of memory across generations. The book challenges the discourse of newness that has marked South Africa since the formal end of apartheid in 1994, by showing the violence done and masked by such a discourse. Written under the Skin calls for new ways of reading South African history. It proposes protocols of care – cautious, ethical, vigilant – to guide these new ways of reading. There is in this book a moral urgency and an ethical injunction that demand our attention. We dare not ignore this book." Jacob Dlamini, Assistant Professor of History, Princeton University
Carli Coetzee is Editor of the Journal of African Cultural Studies. Her publications include Accented Futures: language activism and the ending of apartheid and the edited collection Afropolitanism: reboot. She co-edited Negotiating the Past: the making of memory in South Africa with Sarah Nuttall.