About MPG

MPG = Matthew Pratt Guterl

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I live in Providence, Rhode Island, where I teach and talk and write about the complexities of race and nation in American life at Brown University in the departments of Africana Studies and American Studies.

I care a great deal about higher education, the humanities, and public culture. Sometimes I share my concerns or my enthusiasms in The Guardian, or The New Republic, or The Chronicle of Higher Education, or Inside Higher Ed.  Occasionally, I am quoted in place like the New York Times or the Washington Post.  Whenever I write for a broader public like this I post a link under the “Media” link on this site. And sometimes, when I don’t want to worry about editorial oversight, or when I’m writing for friends and colleagues, or doing something a little different, I put my thoughts here in the “Blog” section.

I’ve written or co-authored five books on American culture. They span a wide range of topics, but are joined by a focus on race and race-relations, on inequality and difference, and on struggles for justice and structures of oppression. My most recent book is Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe, which focuses on the civil rights heroine’s late-in-life adoption of twelve children, to be raised in a castle in the rural French countryside. You can learn more about my work by visiting my research page at Brown, or by going to the Harvard University Press and University of North Carolina Press websites.

I’ve recently begun two new large-scale projects: a book on class passing, which is also, in a way, a history of racial passing and cross-dressing; and a global life of the queer, cosmopolitan, human rights icon and revolutionary, Roger Casement.

Aside from this work, I have an ongoing collaborative research partnership with a friend and fellow academic, Caroline Levander. The work we do together departs a little bit from my own specialization – and from hers as well.  We’ve written Hotel Lifewhich is a broader kind of cultural critique, aimed right at the heart of contemporary American life, wherein we’ve tried to do for hotels what Foucault once did for prisons. And we’re thinking about a book on “American Style” as our next collaborative project.  You can learn more on our website here.

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