In late Spring 2021 Washington University in St. Louis joined Universities Studying Slavery (USS). USS is a global consortium of academic institutions independently and collaboratively examining the relationships between their institutional histories and slavery, and addressing legacies of these entanglements.

Stay informed by joining our WashU & Slavery mailing list here.

WashU & Slavery Project Seeking Postdoctoral Fellow

The WashU & Slavery Project is recruiting a postdoctoral fellow to help advance collaborative project research, teaching, and engagement, working closely with the project director and participating faculty, staff, and students. For more information and to apply go to the position announcement here.

Background and Organization

An organizing committee (below) convened by former CREAssociate Director Geoff Ward in Fall 2020 began examining relationships between slavery, its legacies, and our institution, and planning an initial approach to participation in the consortium. Several courses offered this academic year began engaging students in related research. The committee proposed an initial approach that draws from examples at several of the more than 70 schools across five countries active in USS. Chancellor Andrew Martin and Provost Beverly Wendland provided initial funding to support this project proposal and formally accepted the invitation for WashU to join Universities Studying Slavery. WashU & Slavery is based in the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity (CRE2), where Professor Ward has transitioned into the project director role. Building WashU & Slavery through CREwill aid its integration across the institution, interdisciplinary project design, and links to the strategic efforts of the center and other campus and community partners.

What’s Next?

The initial project phase will emphasize research and teaching, including faculty-supervised student research, in close partnership with the university libraries, archives and museum, to maximize project productivity, visibility, sustainability and impact. Over the next two years the project will develop foundational research, further organize and contextualize relevant collections in the university archives, libraries, and museum, create a digital project infrastructure, and an array of campus and public engagements. This will be a gradual build out rooted in project research. Over the coming weeks and months the project will expand its presence at CRE2, announce funding opportunities, host research and collections workshops, highlight additional course offerings, and other ways for members of the campus and broader community to participate in this initiative.

WashU & Slavery Engaged Courses

Courses will be a primary way for students to become engaged. The following Fall 2021 courses will provide opportunities to develop student research contributions to WashU & Slavery:

Rethinking WashU’s Relation to Enslavement (Ampersand Program)

Monumental Antiracism (First-year Seminar)

Researching Cultures: Making Latin America Popular



Fumihiko Maki Lecture: UVA Memorial to Enslaved Laborers

September 27, 2021
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Past events

WashU & Slavery in the News

Wash U
Explores Its History And Relation To Slavery In New Project

St. Louis Public Radio, May 7, 2021

Washington University in St. Louis
Becomes Latest School to Join
Universities Studying Slavery (USS) Team!

Universities Studying Slavery, May 4, 2021

Washington University joins
Universities Studying Slavery consortium

The Source, April 26, 2021

Stay informed by joining our WashU & Slavery mailing list here.

WashU & Slavery Organizing Committee

Geoff Ward

Director, WashU & Slavery; Professor of African and African American Studies; Sociology (Affiliate); American Culture Studies (Affiliate)

Histories of Racial Violence, Legacies, and Reckonings; Visual Redress; Youth Justice; Policing and Courts

William Acree

Interim Co-director, CRE2; Professor of Spanish; American Culture Studies (Affiliate) and Performing Arts (Affiliate)

Latin American Cultural History; Popular & Material Culture; Global Street Cultures; Public Space & State Formation; Afro-Latin America

Iver Bernstein

Professor of History

Slavery and Emancipation; African American Political Culture; Democratic Movements; Structural and Sexual Violence; the US Civil War; Politics of the Slavery Archive; Collective Memory

Elizabeth Childs

Etta and Mark Steinberg Professor of Art History and Chair, Department of Art History and Archaeology

Carl Craver

Professor of Philosophy and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology

Karma Frierson

Assistant Professor of African and African-American Studies

Afro-Latin America; Cultural Politics; Expressive Culture; Identity; Multiculturalism; Popular Culture; Race and Ethnicity

Nadia Ghasedi

Associate University Librarian for Special Collections Services

Academic Libraries; Community Archives; Moving Image Preservation

Harriet Green

Associate University Librarian

Digital Humanities; Scholarly Communications; Data Curation; Leadership; Diversity in Libraries

Peter Kastor

Samuel K. Eddy Professor and Chair, Department of History

Dineo Khabele

Mitchell & Elaine Yanow Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

David Konig

Professor of Law, Emeritus Professor of History

Michelle Purdy

Associate Professor

U.S. Educational Access and Opportunity; Equitable Educational Policies and Practices; Black Students’ Experiences; Archival Research; Oral History; Qualitative Methods

Miguel A Valerio

Assistant Professor of Spanish

Africans and Afro-descendants in colonial Latin America literature and culture
Africans and Afro-descendants in the Mediterranean
Africans and Afro-descendants in Renaissance and Baroque literature and culture
Black confraternities in the Iberian Empires
Renaissance and Baroque festival culture
Funeral rituals among black confraternities
Afro-Latin American literature and culture
The history of race and racism
Identity formation

Helina Woldekiros

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Ethnicity and foodways, health and human development, historical and ecological analysis, Identity, religion, and mortuary practice, State formation, Sustainable agriculture