Professor Matthew Smith holds the Bachelor of Arts degree with First Class Honours in History and the Master of Science degree in Government (Political Theory and Comparative Politics) from The UWI, Mona Campus and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Caribbean/Latin American History (Major) and US History (Minor) from the University of Florida.
He joined the staff of The UWI, Mona in 2002 as an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of History and Archaeology and was promoted to Lecturer in 2004 and Senior Lecturer in 2010.
Professor Smith is a widely respected academic and a leading scholar in Caribbean studies and social and political history, with specialization in Haitian Political and Social History. His first major publication, Red and Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict, and Political Change, 1934-1957, published in 2009, received international acclaim from leading scholars in the field. It was a 2010 co-winner of the Caribbean Studies Association’s prestigious Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Prize for best book on the Caribbean. Other awards include the Principal’s Award for Best Book Publication in the Faculty of Humanities & Education, Mona in 2010, the Principal’s Research Fellowship, and the Award for Most Outstanding Researcher in the Faculty of Humanities & Education.
His most recent book Liberty, Fraternity, Exile: Haiti and Jamaica After Emancipation has also been very well received, bridging, as it does, international and domestic political history in interesting and innovative ways. He is editor and co-editor of several other books and journal volumes. He has also published over twenty scholarly articles covering a variety of topics, ranging from analyses of Haitian political thought and Haitian historiography, to the country’s relationship with the wider Caribbean region as well as the issue of colour, race and class in Haiti.
Professor Smith also has a well-established reputation as a teacher, responsible for lectures at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has also functioned as University Examiner for history courses in the areas of the Americas.
Further, he has an exceptional record of professional service. He was Director of The UWI, Mona Haiti Initiative following the devastating earthquake experienced in that territory in 2010, crafting and executing plans on behalf of the Campus for assistance to Haitian university students, and the Haitian national library. Dr. Smith was also appointed by the vice chancellor to chair an Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutions (UNICA) Special Task Force on Haitian Education.
In addition, Professor Smith has served as president of the Haitian Studies Association, is a collaborator on the important Digital Library of the Caribbean online exhibition, Haiti: An Island Luminous, and Director of the UWI’s Social History Project. He is currently a member of the Editorial Board of Small Axe, and that of the Social and Economic Studies academic journals. He also serves on the Board of Museums and Archives of the Institute of Jamaica.