Douglas Flowe’s research is primarily concerned with themes of criminality, illicit leisure, and masculinity, and understanding how they converge with issues of race, class, and space in American cities. His work and commentary have been featured by national and international media outlets, including CNN, Politico, ITV News, TRT World News and the Black Agenda Report and Real Crime Profile podcasts.
Flowe’s first book project, “Uncontrollable Blackness: African American Men and Criminality in Jim Crow New York” (2020) analyzes black crime within the prism of masculine identity, migration, the varied uses of urban public space, and racialized supervision. With this in mind, the book registers illegality as a response to the authoritative gaze of white progressives, civic leaders, and police, and to the restrictions of joblessness, violence, and discrimination. Secondly it seeks to understand how changes in notions of black manhood connect to criminal, or criminalized, behaviors, incarceration, and the politics of intimate relationships, while also delineating a streaming contest between white and black men on the conceptual terrain of manliness.
Other recent pieces include essays on police brutality and vigilante justice. He is currently working on a second book, tentatively entitled “Prison, Power, and Protest: African Americans and New York’s Interwar Carceral State,” which will bridge the historical gap between the early twentieth-century and mass incarceration, and theorize about the many ways black men and women interfaced with law enforcement and imprisonment.