Dr. Matthew Pettway

Contact information:

Phone number: 207-786-8352

Email: mpettway@bates.edu

Matthew Pettway completed his doctorate in Hispanic Cultural Studies at Michigan State University in June 2010. Dr. Pettway joined the faculty at Bates College in August of the same year where he serves as Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies and is affiliated with the African-American Studies program. Professor Pettway’s work is part of a broader project of literary and historical recovery, akin to what Toni Morrison has termed “a kind of literary archaeology.” He examines the African cultural archive within Cuban colonial literature; placing an emphasis on the dynamics of race, religion and ritual. Pettway’s peer-reviewed articles, “Ritual and Reason: Negotiating Freedom in the Literature of Juan Francisco Manzano”, “Black Femininity and the Silence of Domestic Space in ‘The Cemetery on the Sugar Plantation’ by José del Carmen Díaz” and a “Sacred Ways of Meaning and Knowing” have appeared in PALARA, in the Zora Neale Hurston Forum and the American Studies Journal. Dr. Pettway’s first international publication is “Manzano en el monte: Recuperando el sujeto perdido en ‘Un sueño a mi Segundo hermano’” and was published in the universally acclaimed Cuban journal, Del Caribe. His newest publication is “The Altar, the Oath and the Body of Christ: Ritual Poetics and Cuban Racial Politics of 1844,” the inaugural chapter of Jerome Branche’s Black Writing, Cultural and the State in Latin America (2015).

The University of Kansas awarded Matthew Pettway the Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship for fall semester 2013. He taught a course on gender and race in post-Soviet Cuba, a graduate seminar on blacks in Cuban literature and gave a public lecture on his book research: http://www.matthewpettway.com/?page_id=10.

Last month, Dr. Pettway gave an invited lecture at the University of Kentucky’s Caribbean symposium.   His talk was entitled, “The Altar, the Oath and the Body of Christ: Ritual Poetics and Cuba Racial Politics of 1844,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpTGkcVmp5M.

Presently, he is completing a single-authored book manuscript, tentatively entitled, Black Cuban Literature in the Age of Conspiracy: Race, Religion and Ritual in Juan Francisco Manzano and Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés investigating how black poets wrote about African-based religiosity behind the façade of Catholicism and beneath the surface of Spanish literary aesthetics. This is the first book to examine Juan Francisco Manzano and Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés in critical juxtaposition, not only as divergent personalities but also as erstwhile literary co-conspirators. Dr. Pettway’s book-in-progress unearths Afro-Cuban texts and reads them against the grain in order to analyze the seditious nature of such writing as well as its redemptive power in the struggle for black liberation. Matthew Pettway is a native of Detroit, MI.

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