LAWRENCE – Matthew Pettway, the fall 2013 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor, will present “Race, Religion and Ritual: Afro-Cuban Poets in the Age of Revolution” at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union. The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.
Pettway is an assistant professor of Spanish at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. His research is in Cuban cultural studies, hispanophone Caribbean literature and 19th century Latin American letters.
The Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship was established at the University of Kansas in 1977 in honor of the African-American poet, playwright and fiction writer who lived in Lawrence from 1903 to 1916. The professorship brings a prominent or emerging minority scholar to KU for one semester each year.
Pettway is serving as a visiting professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. He earned his doctorate in Hispanic cultural studies at Michigan State University in June 2010, and he joined the faculty at Bates College in August 2010. At Bates, he teaches intermediate Spanish language, literature and composition courses and a multigenre survey of Spanish-American writing. He also teaches a course on 20th centur Spanish Caribbean narrative and a senior seminar on the representation of blacks in the history of Cuban letters.
He is currently engaged in a book-length project, “Afro-Cuban Literature in a Society of Dead Poets: Race, Religion and Ritual in the Age of Revolution.” The project is an analysis of the politics of race and religion in the poetry, narrative, correspondence and trail records of Juan Francisco Manzano and Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés, the most prolific black literary writers in colonial Cuba.
More information on the Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship, including a complete list of past recipients, is available online.