Present But Unseen- Matthew Pettway

Entry Question

What topics from the second half of the semester (the Haitian Revolution and Juan Francisco Manzano’s poetics of emancipation) would you like to see included in the final?

Present But Unseen

Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of South Alabama and scholar of Afro-Latin American and Caribbean literatures, Dr. Matthew Pettway argues in his book Cuban Literature in the Age of Black Insurrection that Afro-Latin Americans such as Juan Francisco Manzano took hold of the aesthetic and spiritual tools available to them (catholicism along with Yoruba and Bakongo spiritual perspectives) to conceive a poetics of emancipation.

In his chapter “Present but Unseen: African-Cuban Spirituality and Emancipation in the Literature of Juan Francisco Manzano” Pettway defends that Manzano’s deference for catholic requiems and rituals did not “constituted an indifference to African-inspired spirituality nor represented a disdain for African sources of religious power. Manzano negotiated the disparities between Catholic doctrine and African-inspired ideas about death, the afterlife, and the struggle for black freedom.”

Pettway conceives Manzano’s autobiography as transcultural colonial literature because of Manzano’s combination of a Catholic belief system with passages about spirit apparitions and the power of African divine spirits, with Catholic saint names.

Oral Presentation on the essay “Present but Unseen” (Pages 120-151)

Vargas, Ricardo

Downer, Ginelli Ivette

Sanchez, Johairy

Dr. Matthew Pettway’s Lecture: “Manzano at the Crossroads”