Kathleen Alfin

Email: kalfin@wisc.edu

Advisor: Florence Bernault
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Kathleen Alfin


My name is Kathleen (Kate) Alfin and I am a Ph.D. candidate in African history. I also completed a minor in Environmental History through the Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE) at UW-Madison. I am currently a rotational instructor at the United States Military Academy, where I serve as the Department of History Academic Counselor and was recently promoted to the rank of Assistant Professor.

My dissertation, “Anxious Allies: Liberian-American Relations during World War II,” explores how the historically anxious relationship between Liberia and the United States influenced diplomacy during the Second World War. I employ an affective analysis to understand how longstanding and emergent anxieties regarding race affected relations between Monrovia and Washington, D.C., the deployment of the U.S. Army Forces in Liberia (USAFIL) to Liberia between 1942 and 1946, and army policies to control racial tensions and sex in the predominantly black American unit.


M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison (African History)
M.S., Troy University (International Relations)
B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison (History)


  • African History

MA Title

  • “‘Uncle Sugar’s Belles:’ Liberian Sex Workers and the U.S. Army in the Second World War”

Working Dissertation Title

  • “Anxious Allies: Liberian-American Relations during World War II”

Selected Publications


  • Omar N. Bradley Historical Research Fellowship (2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017)
  • Phi Kappa Phi Peter L. Zhu Scholastic Achievement Award (2020)
  • West Point Department of History Excellence in Teaching Award (2020)
  • Faculty Research Funding, United States Military Academy (2020 and 2019)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of History Research Travel Grant (2019)
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Summer 2016)

Professional Affiliations

  • African Studies Association
  • American Historical Association

Courses Taught (as Instructor)

  • History 101 – “Army of the Republic: Leading Citizen Soldiers” (United States Military Academy, West Point, NY)
  • History 108a – “Regional Studies in World History-Africa” (United States Military Academy, West Point, NY)
  • History 345 – “Modern Africa” (United States Military Academy, West Point, NY)