Sowande’ Mustakeem’s Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage (University of Illinois Press) reveals for the first time how slavery took critical shape at sea. Expanding the gaze even more deeply, the book centers how the oceanic transport of human cargoes—infamously known as the Middle Passage—comprised a violently regulated process foundational to the institution of bondage.
Mustakeem’s groundbreaking study goes inside the Atlantic slave trade to explore the social conditions and human costs embedded in the world of maritime slavery. Mining ship logs, records and personal documents, she teases out the social histories produced between those on traveling ships: slaves, captains, sailors, and surgeons.
Mustakeem is an associate professor of History and African & African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.