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Patricia Matthew

Associate Professor, English

Dickson Hall 357
BA, Centenary College of Louisiana
MA, Northwestern State University
PhD, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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I teach courses in British Romanticism, the history of the novel, and British abolitionist literature. I have published essays and reviews in Women’s Writing, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, the Keats-Shelley Journal, and Texas Studies in Literature and Language and written about race, portraiture, and British abolitionist material culture for The Atlantic and Lapham’s Quarterly. I am the editor of Written/Unwritten: Diversity and the Hidden Truths of Tenure (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) and have published essays and book reviews on diversity in higher education in PMLA, The College Language Association Journal, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. My work on diversity and equity has been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, and New York City Public Radio’s The Brian Lehrer Show. I am a co-founder of the Bigger6 Collective, scholars invested in research and writing that promotes anti-racist analyses of the global 19th Century, and am currently editing a special issue of Studies in Romanticism titled “Race, Blackness, and Romanticism.” I am also co-editor with Manu Chander of the Oxford University Press book series Race and Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture and will edit the Norton Library edition of Mansfield Park. I am writing a book (“And freedom to the slave”: Sugar and the Afterlives of Abolition) currently under advance contract with Princeton University Press.


British Romanticism (poetry and fiction), the history of the novel, abolitionist British literature, and women's writing.



Research Projects

Current Book Project: "And freedom to the slave"

My book “And freedom to the slave:” Sugar and the Afterlives of Abolition is the first Black feminist analysis of England’s abolitionist campaign and its influence on current representations of race and gender. It brings together eighteenth and nineteenth-century literary texts, medical diaries, domestic objects, portraits, and contemporary film, sculpture, and portraiture to show how essential Black women and men as philanthropic objects have been to white women’s political progress. The book moves between the late eighteenth and twenty first centuries and among British abolitionist culture, accounts of West Indian planation life, and contemporary Black art. Taking the 1790 anti-sugar protests as its starting point, “And freedom to the slave” connects figures including Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, and Maria Edgeworth to contemporary Black artists including Amma Asante, Sanford Biggers, Peter Brathwaite, and Kara Walker. In doing so, it reveals how deeply the Regency-era’s genteel parlor culture is intertwined with the violence of the transatlantic slave trade and confronts the far reach of early abolitionist constructions of Blackness. Currently under an advance contract with Princeton University Press.