Sowande' Mustakeem

​Associate Professor of History and of African and African-American Studies
PhD, Michigan State University
MA, Ohio State University
BA, Elon University
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    contact info:

    office hours:

    • On Sabbatical for Spring 2024
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    mailing address:

    • MSC 1062-107-114
    • Washington University
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    ​Sowande' Mustakeem's recent courses include "Slavery and Memory in American Popular Culture" and "Visualizing Blackness: Histories of the African Diaspora Through Film." 



    Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage (University of Illinois Press, 2016).

    Selected Publications

    Articles and Reviews

    “Blood Stained Mirrors: Decoding the American Slave Trading Past” in Understanding and Teaching American Slavery, Edited by Bethany Jay and Lynne (Forthcoming: University of Wisconsin Press, 2016). 

    “Suffering at the Margins: (Re)-Centering Black Women in Discourses on Violence and Crime,” Review Essay of The Meanings of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues by Angela Y. Davis, 

    Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation by Beth Ritchie, and Breaking Women: Gender, Race, and The New Politics of Imprisonment by Jill McCorkel, WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 42: 3 & 4 (Fall/Winter 2014): 319-323.

    Marcus Rediker, North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. XC, No. 4 (October 2013): 418-419.

    “Breaking the Chains: Un-Silencing the American Slaving Past” in Teaching Lincoln: What Every K-12 Students Needs to Know About Nationalism, Emancipation, Power, and Race, Edited by Caroline Pryor and Stephen Hansen (Peter & Lang Press, 2013): 121-128.

    "'She Must Go Overboard & Shall Go Overboard’: Diseased Bodies and the Spectacle of Murder at Sea," in Atlantic Studies 8.3 (Fall 2011): 301-316.

    'I Never Have Such A Sickly Ship Before': Diet, Disease, and Mortality in 18th-Century Atlantic Slaving Voyages," in Journal of African American History 93 (Fall 2008): pp. 474-496.

    "'Make Haste & Let Me See You With A Good Cargo of Negroes': Gender, Power, and the Centrality of Violence in the Eighteenth Century Atlantic Slave Trade," in Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Power in Maritime America, edited by Glenn Gordinier. (Mystic, CT: Mystic Seaport Museum, 2008), 3-21.

    "Far Cry From a Fantasy Voyage: The Impact of the Middle Passage on Slave Societies Across the Atlantic World," in ISLAS: Official Publication of the Afro-Cuban Alliance, Inc. Year 2, No. 8, (Fall 2007).

    Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage

    Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage

    In her new book Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage, historian Sowande' Mustakeem reveals the forgotten world of 18th century slave ships. Here, she shares the tragic story of one enslaved woman and discusses why it's so important for Americans to confront this foundational, brutal chapter of history. Mustakeem's research focuses on the experiences of those most frequently left out of the history of the Middle Passage - women, children, the elderly, and the diseased.