Fields of interest:
United States; U.S. imperialism; Caribbean; Pacific; material culture; nations and national identity
Alvita Akiboh (pronunciation) is a U.S. historian specializing in the history of U.S. overseas colonies in the Caribbean and Pacific. She earned her PhD in History from Northwestern University and BA in History from Indiana University. Before coming to Yale, Akiboh was a postdoctoral fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows.
Akiboh’s first book, Imperial Material: National Symbols in the U.S. Colonial Empire, is forthcoming with University of Chicago Press in Fall 2023. Imperial Material tells the story of how objects laden with U.S. national symbols—flags, money, and postage stamps—became an arena in which contests over national identity played out in the U.S. colonial empire from the turn of the twentieth century to the post-WWII era of global decolonization. In these overseas colonies occupying the tenuous space between foreign and domestic, these seemingly mundane objects became central for both U.S. imperialists who sought to establish and maintain U.S. colonial rule and for people living in the colonies who made claims to belonging, resisted U.S. rule, and used these symbolic objects to articulate their own understanding of their relationship to the United States.
Akiboh has conducted research throughout the continental United States and the overseas territories, including American Samoa, Guam, Hawai‘i, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her work has been supported by a variety of organizations, including the American Historical Association, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and National Museum of American History.
At Yale, Akiboh teaches courses on U.S. history, national identity, colonialism, and empire. Please check courses.yale.edu for current offerings.
This year (2022-2023), Akiboh is the History Department’s Graduate Placement Officer. Please reach out to her to get feedback on your job application materials, to schedule a practice interview or job talk, or with questions about any stage of the process.
Imperial Material: Objects & Identity in the U.S. Colonial Empire (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming Fall 2023)
“Pocket-Sized Imperialism: U.S. Designs on Colonial Currency,” Diplomatic History 41 (Nov. 2017): 874-902.
Harold Perkin Prize for Best Dissertation (2019)
Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award (2018)
Empires & Colonialism
Race & Ethnicity