United States Air Force Academy

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Dr. Doug Leonard

Deputy Department Head & Associate Professor of History

Department of History

Official Photo of Douglas Leonard
Contact Information

(719) 333-3230



Dr. Leonard's academic work has focused on the intersection of history, sociology, and anthropology, most recently in his book Anthropology, Colonial Policy and the Decline of French Empire in Africa (Bloomsbury, 2020). As an intellectual historian, Dr. Leonard has published on the origin, movement, and exchange of ideas between Africans and Europeans on the nature of social structure and the appropriate form of political rule both during and after the colonial period.

His next research project will follow a group of post-colonial West African intellectuals as they described and explained their understanding of the racialized and gendered environment of their social and political worlds in both inheritance and rejection of colonial social science across the great rupture of European modernity, in the process proposing non-European experiences of time.

In 2019, he retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel after 20 years of service as a career intelligence officer. He held assignments at various operational and staff levels, and also commanded at both the detachment and squadron levels.


PhD, History, Duke University (2012)

MA, History, Florida State University (2000)

BS, History, United States Air Force Academy (1999)

Professional Experience

Associate Professor of History, U.S. Air Force Academy, (2021-Present)

Assistant Professor of History, U.S. Air Force Academy, (2006-2009 and 2017-2021)

Honors & Awards

Recipient, Outstanding Academy Educator Award (Presented to top Department of History instructor annually) (2007-2008)

Distinguished Graduate, United States Air Force Academy (1999)

Recipient, U.S. Air Force Academy Department of History Norstad Award for Outstanding Area History Major (1999)

Research and Scholarly Interests

African History especially North and West Africa

Imperial and Colonial History

Modern European History

History of Social Science, especially Anthropology and Cartography


“Amadou Hampate Ba and the Power of Time in the Social Reconstruction of West Africa,” Journal of West African History, forthcoming.

Anthropology, Colonial Policy and the Decline of French Empire in Africa. London: Bloomsbury, 2020.

“Escaping the Bind: Comparing Twenty-First Century US Counterinsurgency Doctrine and the French Response to the Algerian Revolution, 1955–1956,” Anthropology and History 25, 5 (Oct 2014): 627-647.

“‘They do not know how to deal with native unrest’: British intervention and unintended consequences in French North Africa, 1940-1946,” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 13, 2 (Fall 2012).

“Writing Against the Grain: Antenor Firmin and the Refutation of Nineteenth Century European Race Science” in Anywhere but Here: Black Intellectuals in the Atlantic World and Beyond, ed. Kendahl Radcliffe, Jennifer Scott, and Anja Werner (University Press of Mississippi, 2015): 27-46.