Dr Carli Coetzee
My research focuses on African literature and African popular cultural studies, and on the ethics of knowledge production about and from Africa. I have previously held positions at the University of the Western Cape, University of Cape Town, SOAS University of London and Queen Mary University and have held fellowships at Harvard University and Wits University.
My most recent monograph Written Under the Skin: Blood and Intergenerational Memory in South Africa was published in 2019 in the African Articulations series of James Currey/Boydell & Brewer (https://boydellandbrewer.com/written-under-the-skin-hb.html). It was awarded the African Literature Association prize for best scholarly book. The argument of the book is that a younger generation is disputing and debating the terms through which to understand contemporary South Africa, as well as for interpreting the legacies of the past that remain under the visible layer of skin. I use the image of history-rich blood under the skin to explore approaches to intergenerational memory in the time of the #Fallists. Blood under the skin is a carrier of embodied and gendered histories and using this image, the chapters revisit older archives, and analyse contemporary South African cultural and literary forms. The emphasis on blood challenges the privileged status skin has had as explanatory category in thinking about identity, and instead emphasises intergenerational transfer and continuity.
Together with Moradewun Adejunmobi, I edited the Routledge Handbook of African Literature, published in 2019, which includes 28 chapters by scholars from across the globe. Our goal as editors was to make a range of critical engagements with African literature, and to provide additional impetus for pushing beyond the boundaries of familiar critical engagements with African literature. Assembling chapters for this Handbook compelled us to ponder the politics of the scholarly anthology, the locatedness of knowledge and the interventions that anthologies make. This anthology comprising the work of differently located scholars gives some sense of the concerns that matter for individual scholars in diverse locations and how we might bring these concerns into dialogue with each other.
I am working on a new group project focussing on African campus forms, which will analyse the ways in which African campuses have been represented as a particular scene of experience, across various genres and in a range of discourses. I am the editor of the Journal of African Cultural Studies (https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cjac20/current), a journal with a special commitment to publishing cutting edge scholarship produced by Africa-based scholars, and am the current President of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK).
Some recent publications:
"The Myth of Oxford and Black Counter-Narratives." African Studies Review 65(2): 288-307.
“Academic Fakes.” Journal of African Cultural Studies 33(3): 272-5.
Personal website: https://sites.google.com/view/carli-coetzee/home