Dr. Matthew Pettway
Office phone number: (843)-953-2376
Matthew Pettway is a post-doctoral fellow in The School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs at the College of Charleston where he teaches Spanish and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Dr. Pettway completed his doctorate in Hispanic Cultural Studies at Michigan State University in 2010. He has taught at Bates College and the University of Kansas in Spanish and Latin American Studies. At Bates College, he was also affiliated with the African-American Studies program. Matthew Pettway will teach a course at the College of Charleston in SPRING 2018 on the rich cultural and intellectual heritage of black Cubans in film, fine arts, literature and history.
Dr. Pettway is proud to announce that his single-authored book manuscript, tentatively entitled, Black Cuban Literature in the Age of Conspiracy: Juan Francisco Manzano and Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés is under contract with the University Press of Mississippi. Professor Pettway argues that black poets used Catholicism, Romanticism and Neoclassicism as a symbolic language for African-inspired ideas of spirit and cosmos. This African Cuban spirituality lied beneath the surface of the dominant aesthetic. 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 antislavery intellectuals that collaborated in the interest of black freedom. Dr. Pettway’s book project 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 has published several 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 “Sacred Ways of Meaning and Knowing” have appeared in PALARA, in the Zora Neale Hurston Forum and in the American Studies Journal, respectively. Dr. Pettway’s first foreign publication was “Manzano en el monte: Recuperando el sujeto perdido en ‘Un sueño a mi Segundo hermano,’” published in the much-acclaimed Cuban journal, Del Caribe. He published, “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). He also contributed to the Dictionary of Afro-Latin American and Caribbean Biography that Professors Henry Louis Gates and Franklin Knight published earlier this year.
Dr. Pettway has given several invited lectures based on his research.
The University of Kansas awarded Matthew Pettway the Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship for fall semester 2013. He designed a new 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.
He spoke 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. Likewise, The Maine Humanities Council invited him to give a talk entitled, “Reading through the Invisibility of Race in One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.” The url of his talk is available on his YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTSXoj5Xq2g. And, he gave an invited lecture at the University of Maine at Farmington where he spoke about African Atlantic religious worldview as a means to organizing antislavery rebellion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=da0YoLuOCg4.
He delivered his most recent lecture at the College of Charleston, entitled, “In Search of My Brother: The Ghosts of Slavery in Black Colonial Cuba” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wva_Kcg3Tko.
Matthew Pettway is a native of Detroit, MI.