Douglas Flowe

Assistant professor of history

Contact Information
Media Contact

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 NewsTRT 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.



In the media


WashU Expert: Our post-fact reality

The 2020 presidential election is over. Joe Biden has won. And yet the clarity and consensus that elections once brought, however grudgingly, now founders on the shores of post-fact partisanship, says Douglas Flowe, assistant professor of history in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.
The historic 2020 election, and what’s next

The historic 2020 election, and what’s next

After the contentious 2020 presidential election, Washington University in St. Louis faculty experts offer their predictions and perspectives on the legal battle ensuing, the election process, the transition of power and the future for both President-elect Joe Biden’s administration and President Donald Trump’s.
‘Uncontrollable Blackness’

‘Uncontrollable Blackness’

In his new book, “Uncontrollable Blackness: African American Men and Criminality in Jim Crow New York,” historian Douglas Flowe at Washington University in St. Louis investigates the meanings of crime, violence and masculinity in the lives of those facing economic isolation, segregation and overt racial attack.