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Matthew PettwayMatthew Pettway
University of South Alabama


Cuban Literature in the Age of Black Insurrection: Manzano, Plácido, and Afro-Latino Religion, 12/16/2019, by Matthew Pettway, to be released 12/2019. See the YouTube lecture below for a good intro.

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In Search of My Brother: The Ghosts of Slavery in Black Colonial Cuba
LECTURE by Matthew Pettway
Cuban Literature in the Age of Black Insurrection: Manzano, Plácido, and Afro-Latino Religion  8/28/2019 Politics and Prose: "Plácido and Manzano envisioned emancipation through the lens of African spirituality, a transformative moment in the history of Cuban letters. Matthew Pettway examines how the portrayal of African ideas of spirit and cosmos in otherwise conventional texts recur throughout early Cuban literature and became the basis for Manzano and Plácido's antislavery philosophy. The portrayal of African-Atlantic religious ideas spurned the elite rationale that literature ought to be a barometer of highbrow cultural progress."

Revolutionizing Cultural Activism in Cuba-A Lecture by Roberto Zurbano  5/18/2018 Dr. Mathew Pettway, YouTube: "Roberto Zurbano addressed the efficacy of black cultural activism in Cuba; the promise of the Black Lives Matter movement in the racially charged U.S. political environment; and the recent rapprochement between Washington and Havana, and its possible effects on the island's racial dynamics."

RACE AND THE AFTERLIFE OF SLAVERY IN CUBA | A lecture by Matthew Pettway  2/20/2018 Halsey Institute: "In this talk, Dr. Matthew Pettway will explore how nearly four hundred years of Spanish colonialism and African enslavement invented the myth of white supremacy and nurtured the creation of another fiction, black inhumanity. The emphasis of his talk will be to define the power of antiracist thinking and to look toward the philosophical contributions of the formerly enslaved (and their descendants) in an effort to build a society based on democratic praxis. Dr. Pettway’s talk will provide context for the exhibition Roberto Diago: La historia recordada."

The Altar, the Oath, and the Body of Christ  11/30/2015 Black Writing, Culture and the State in Latin America: "In the shadow of the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), free and enslaved persons of African descent organized a series of insurrections designed to abolish slavery, depose the Spanish military government, and boldly institute a new republic of blacks and mulattoes on the island of Cuba. Government interrogations confirmed that the chief conspirators had initiated their plans in 1841 (Paquette 263–65) and subsequently concealed the plot by compelling would-be rebels to swear unconditional allegiance to give up their lives before revealing anything to their white enemies. To this end, loyalty oaths were a pervasive means to effectively organize anti-slavery revolts, maintain secrecy, and assure unity among insurgents."

Black Femininity and the Silence of Domestic Space in “The Cemetery on the Sugar Plantation” by José del Carmen Díaz  9/1/2013 Zora Neal Hurston Forum: "Critics have scarcely researched nineteenth-century Afro-Cuban writers, with the exception of Juan Francisco Manzano and Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés (also known by the pseudonym Plácido). Among the other poets, playwrights, journalists and storytellers whose names we know, the work of José del Carmen Díaz, an obscure enslaved poet from Güines emerges. In the fifth edition of Poetas de color (1887), Francisco Calcagno includes a biographical and literary sketch of José del Carmen Díaz. Although the book is primarily concerned with Manzano and Plácido–whose work Calcagno discusses at length–some attention is paid to lesser-known black poets."


Dr. Matthew Pettway Citations


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