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Department of History

Our People

Matt D. Childs

Title: Associate Professor
Director Graduate Studies Program
Department: History
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-3189
Office: Gambrell Hall, Room 121
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]


  • B.S. Central Michigan University
  • M. A. University of California at Los Angeles
  • Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin


Matt D. Childs is Director of Graduate Studies for the History Department. He also serves as Director of the Latin American Studies Program and the African Studies program housed at the Walker Institute for International and Global Studies. From 2010 to 2013 he served as Director of the History Center at the University of South Carolina. He stared teaching at the University of South Carolina in the Fall of 2009. Before joining the History Department at USC, Childs taught at Florida State University from 2001-2008. His primary research and teaching interests are Latin American, Caribbean, and Atlantic history with a particular emphasis on the importance of understanding the historical legacies of slavery and racism in shaping the modern world.

Childs currently serves as the Humanities editor for the Cuban section of the Library of Congress Handbook of Latin American Studies, he is member of the editorial boards of The Americas and Atlantic History  and African History for Oxford University Press’ Oxford Bibliographies Online. In 2017 he was appointed head editor of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora that will comprise 120 entries of 5,000 words each in an online format, accompanied by a 2 volume print publication of select entries. Childs has served and chaired book, article, and fellowship awards and prizes committees administered by the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright Program, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew W. Mellon foundation, and the American Historical Association. 


Professor Childs is the author of The 1812 Aponte Rebellion in Cuba and the Struggle against Atlantic Slavery (2006), which was a finalist for  the 2007 Frederick Douglass Book Prize and translated and published in Cuba in 2012.  Matt Childs has co-edited with Toyin Falola The Yoruba Diaspora in the Atlantic World (2005) and The Changing Worlds of Atlantic Africa:  Essay in Honor or Robin Law (2009). Childs served as an Associate Editor for the 6 volume Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture(2008). With James Sidbury and Jorge Canizares-Esguerra he has co-edited The Urban Black Atlantic during the Era of the Slave Trade.  Professor Childs has published articles in The Journal of Latin American Studies, The Americas, The Historian, The History Workshop Journal, and the Latin American Research Review among other journals. Childs has received research grants from the Social Science Research Council, the Ford Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright-Hays Program, and other agencies to conduct research in Cuba, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States


I am currently working on a book length monograph that place the historical experiences of Cuba's population of African descent in wider Atlantic World contexts tentatively titled:   "An African City in the Americas: The trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Havana, Cuba, 1762-1867" that examines the role of enslaved and free Africans in Havana, Cuba with particular attention on African origins and racial and ethnic identity. This project will connect pre-colonial African history to colonial Caribbean history through Diasporic and Atlantic frameworks. Recent publications include the following articles and chapters: "'The Revolution Against the French':  Race and Patriotism in the 1809 Riot in Havana,"  in Christophe Belaubre, Jordana Dym, and John Savage, eds., Napoleon's Atlantic:  The Impact of Napoleonic Empire in the Atlantic World;  "Cuban Slavery," [Co-authored with Manuel Barcia Paz],  in Mark M. Smith and Robert Paquette, eds.  Oxford Handbook of Slavery;   "Slave Culture,"  in Trevor Burnard and Gad Human, eds., The Routledge History of Slavery; "The 1812 Aponte Rebellion,"  in Laurent Dubois and Julius S. Scott, eds.  Origins of the Black Atlantic; "El actual periodo es muy delicado:  La esclavitud en Cuba y el cambiante mundo Atlántico, 1750-1850,"  Caminos:  Revista Cubana de pensamiento socioteologico, vol. 52-53; “Retaining and Recreating African Ethnic Identities in Cuba: The Relocation of Havana’s Cabildos de Nación,"  in The Urban Black Atlantic during the Era of the Slave Trade; "Gendering the African Diaspora in the Iberian Atlantic:  Religious Brotherhoods and the Cabildos de Nación,"  in Sarah E. Owens and Jane E. Mangan, eds., Women of the Iberian Atlantic. A current and past list of graduate students and their topics of study can be found on my CV by clinking on the link at the top. 

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