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 first book project, Uncontrollable Blackness: African American Men and Criminality in Jim Crow New York (releasing May 2020 from the University of North Carolina press in the “Justice, Power, and Politics” series) 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.
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. This project will also trace the experiences of inmates and delineate the features of the state's "carceral archipelagos," spaces inside and outside of prison that feed incarceration in a variety of social, economic, and gendered ways. By looking at a number of New York's urban centers with significant black populations as pre-carceral spaces designed and policed in discriminatory ways, "Prison, Power, and Protest" will recast them as kindred to the confinement of legal custody, and as pipelines to the carceral state.
Flowe is a graduate of the History program at the University of Rochester where he also served as the Graduate Recruitment and Retention Specialist for the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity. In this role, Flowe also acted as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar Advisor, a National GEM Consortium Representative, and the chair of the Executive Committee for the New York Graduate Admissions Professionals (NYGAP). Before joining WashU’s History Department he was the Postdoctoral Fellow of Inequality and Identity in the American Culture Studies program from 2014-2016. Flowe is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Urban History Association (UHA), and an Editorial Board Member for the Annuals of the Next Generation journal. He has also recently completed a Faculty Fellowship at WashU’s Center for the Humanities in the Fall of 2018.