Matthew Pratt Guterl

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Matthew Pratt Guterl
Alma materRutgers University(Ph.D.)
Richard Stockton College(B.A.)
InstitutionsBrown University
Indiana University
Washington State University
St. John’s University
Main interests
Africana studies, American studies

Matthew Pratt Guterl is Professor of Africana Studies and American Studies at Brown University.[1] Prior to his arrival at Brown University, Guterl was the James Rudy Professor of American Studies and History at Indiana University and chair of the department of American Studies.[2] He is the author of four books and the co-author of another, and has written for The Guardian, The New Republic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Education.[3][4][5][6] Guterl appeared in the documentary Race: the Power of an Illusion.[7]


Guterl graduated from Richard Stockton College in 1993 with a B.A. in Historical Studies, and in 1999 from Rutgers University with a Ph.D. in History.[2] He has written extensively about growing up in New Jersey in the 1970s as a member of a large, multiracial, adoptive family.[8] Prior to working at Indiana University, Guterl was an Assistant Professor of Comparative American Cultures at Washington State University.


Describing himself as "an historian of race and nation, and a scholar of African American, American, and World histories,"[1] Guterl's work has shifted over time across subfields and specializations: his first book was on the Progressive Era North, while his second book was on the Civil War Era South, and his more recent work is focused on the post-World War II era. His work is also transnational in scope and topic, and he often draws on archives outside of the United States.

Guterl is the author of several books, each taking up the common histories of race and nation and class. His first, The Color of Race in America, 1900-1940, was published in 2001, and won a "Best Book" award from the American Political Science Association.[9] It was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times and the Economist, among other venues.[10][11] That book is a narrative of the shifting racial classifications in New York City, as witnessed by the African American civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois, the Irish American nationalist Daniel Cohalan, the Nordic supremacist and armchair racial scientist Madison Grant, and the mixed-race novelist Jean Toomer.

His second, American Mediterranean: Southern Slaveholders in the Age of Emancipation, was published in 2008. It received honorable mention in the competition for the 2009 Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Award, given by the Caribbean Studies Association.[12] Therein, he traces the rise and fall of Southern slaveholding against a hemispheric backdrop, suggesting that the Old South was tightly connected to the Caribbean, the West Indies, and even South America, and that the Civil War fundamentally changed this relationship.

A third book, Seeing Race in Modern America, was published in the Fall of 2013 by the University of North Carolina Press, and considers the history of racial sight over the past two hundred years.[13] Framing the front and back of the book with a critique of racial profiling, Guterl suggests that the practice of seeing race is more commonplace than we think, and that unjust policing tactics share much with other, apparently benign racial sightlines, from narratives about multiracial adoption to platoon movies to silhouetting to debates about mixed-race children.

His biography of the famous African American singer and performer, Josephine Baker, published in 2014 by Harvard University Press, focuses on her multiracial, transnational, adopted family in France and the historical contexts of decolonization, civil and human rights, liberalism and utopianism.[14] Recently, he has described this book as a challenge, as well, to the notion of "nation-time" and conventional periodizations in American and world history.[15]

In the spring of 2015, Guterl and his co-author, Caroline Field Levander, released Hotel Life, a book about the social and political work of hotels in contemporary American culture.

Guterl is also the co-editor (with James T. Campbell and Robert G. Lee) of Race, Nation, and Empire in American History, published in 2007.[16] Guterl is also the editor of proposed Oxford Handbook on the History of Race.


Guterl was the 2010 winner of the Mary Turpie Prize for Distinguished Teaching, Advising, and Program Development, from the American Studies Association. In that same year, he was given the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Arts and Humanities, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He has also been awarded fellowships from the Humanities Research Center, Rice University, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, Brown University, the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, the Gilder Lehrman Center, Yale University, and the Library Company of Philadelphia.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Matthew Pratt Guterl". Brown University. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Matthew Pratt Guterl". Indiana University. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  3. ^ Guterl, Matthew. "Why Darren Wilson is Driving You Mad". guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  4. ^ Guterl, Matthew. "Police Cameras Won't Cure Our National Disease". The New Republic. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  5. ^ Guterl, Matthew. "Why We Need an Open Curriculum". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  6. ^ Guterl, Matthew. "Essay on the Significance of a Hashtag". Inside Higher Education. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Race - The Power of an Illusion". California Newsreel. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  8. ^ Guterl, Matthew P. "Life in the Rainbow Tribe". MPG: Unofficial Thoughts. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Race, Ethnicity and Politics Section Award Recipients". American Political Science Association. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  10. ^ "Lessons in colour". The Economist. 6 April 2002. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  11. ^ Rowley, Hazel (24 March 2002). "The Reality of Race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  12. ^ "American Mediterranean". Harvard University Press. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  13. ^ "UNC Press Website For Seeing Race in Modern America". Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  14. ^ "About Matthew Gutterl". Chicago Humanities Festival. Archived from the original on 21 November 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  15. ^ "AHR Newsletter". Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Race, Nation, and Empire in American History". The University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved 6 January 2013.

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