Alvita Akiboh is a doctoral candidate specializing in the history of the United States colonial empire. Akiboh's dissertation, “Imperial Material: Objects and Identity in the U.S. Colonial Empire,” examines material culture and national identity in the U.S. overseas territories. She is specifically interested in material objects produced by the state that contain national symbols—flags, currency, and postage stamps—and how those objects function in the overseas territories on the borders of the U.S. national community. Akiboh’s 2017 Diplomatic History article, “Pocket-Sized Imperialism: U.S. Designs on Colonial Currency,” examines how U.S. officials used money to introduce U.S. national iconography to colonial subjects in Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
Akiboh has conducted research in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Philippines, Guam, Hawaiʻi, and American Samoa. Her work has been supported by funding from the American Historical Association, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the Smithsonian Institute, the Bentley Historical Library, and the Buffett Institute for International Studies.
Akiboh is currently a U.S. History instructor for the Odyssey Project, an Illinois Humanities program that offers college-level courses to income-eligible Chicago residents with little or no access to higher education. She has completed the Searle Center for Advanced Teaching & Learning's Teaching Certificate Program, was the 2017 recipient of the History Department's Lacey Baldwin Smith Prize for Teaching Excellence, and a 2018 recipient of Northwestern's Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
In Northwestern's History Department, Akiboh organizes numerous professional events as the History Graduate Student Organization's Professional Development Coordinator and a founder and organizer of the History Department Women's Group. She also serves as a Graduate School Diversity Peer Mentor and is a member of the Society for Historians of Foreign Relations' Graduate Student Committee.