Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture Series

Twenty-first Annual Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture


Dr. Alvita Akiboh

What Followed the Flag: National Symbols in the U.S. Colonial Empire

What does it mean to become a part of America? In this year’s Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture, Dr. Alvita Akiboh explores how national symbols can be used to shape identity and create community. Revisiting the expansion of the American empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Dr. Akiboh argues that the flag of the United States played a key role in forging a colonial identity. The flag, however, came to mean different things to different people, and Dr. Akiboh shows how colonized people creatively repurposed symbolic objects like the flag to express their own sense of political purpose and belonging.

Alvita Akiboh 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.
Dr. Akiboh’s first book, Imperial Material (under contract, University of Chicago Press) examines how material objects with U.S. national symbols—flags, currency, and postage stamps—have functioned in the overseas territories. Her latest research looks at the history of natural disasters and disaster relief in the U.S. colonial empire.
Dr. 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 funding from a variety of organizations, including the American Historical Association, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the Smithsonian.
At Yale, Dr. Akiboh teaches courses on U.S. history, identity, colonialism, and empire. Outside of the classroom, she is committed to mentoring and advancing students and scholars from underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds.  


Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture
Wednesday, October 19, 2022 7:30PM
Warwick Center
The lecture is free and open to the public

Off campus guests please park in the Fisher Lot and Visitor Lot

Click here to watch the video of the Twenty-first Annual Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture
Roundtable to follow the Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture
2022_Sherman_Roundtable_E-Flyer_Final.jpgThursday, October 20, 2022 3:30PM
James Hall Auditorium
The day after the Department of History's annual Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture, UNCW will present a roundtable discussion featuring renowned scholars and legal professionals who will provide a commentary on the themes raised in Dr. Alvita Akiboh's lecture and raise additional points from their own unique perspectives.  Free and open to the public.  All UNCW students and faculty are welcome to attend. 


Sherman Emerging Scholar Panelists: Sherman Emerging Scholar Dr. Alvita Akiboh (Yale University), Dr. Christopher Dietrich (Fordham University), Dr. Naoko Shibusawa (Brown University), Dr. Nicole Sackley (University of Richmond)
Moderator: Dr. Taylor Fain (University of North Carolina Wilmington)

Off campus guests please park in the Visitor Lot

Click here to watch the video of the Sherman Emerging Scholar Roundtable