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The Western History Association strives to be a congenial home for the study and teaching of all aspects of North American Wests, frontiers, homelands, and borderlands. Our mission is to cultivate the broadest appreciation of this diverse history. To accomplish this mission we: 

Enable collaborations among peoples, institutions, and organizations devoted to the study of western history. 

Conduct an annual conference at which western history teachers, scholars, and professionals share their research and exchange ideas that facilitate further study of the North American West. 

Publish an award-winning journal that employs rigorous peer reviews to identify, improve, and distribute original western history scholarship.

Promote public education on western history through active involvement with teachers, museums, non profit organizations, libraries, and other venues.


The 64th Annual WHA Conference will be hosted at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center from October 23-26 (Wednesday-Saturday). The 2024 conference will be held concurrently with the Southern Historical Association. 

The 2024 WHA President is Kelly Lytle Hern├índez, a professor of History, African American Studies, and Urban Planning at UCLA where she holds The Thomas E. Lifka Endowed Chair in History and directs the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. One of the nation’s leading experts on race, immigration, and mass incarceration, she is the author of Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol (University of California Press, 2010), City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles  (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), and the book Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands (Norton, 2022). 


The North American West has been both home to many different groups with divergent belief systems and cultural practices, and a place in which people often experience shifting identities. The Western History Association strives to reflect the richness of our regions. We seek to be an association of historians of diverse backgrounds who thrive in the spirit of mutual respect and engaged curiosity.


The Western History Association (WHA) is committed to fostering an environment that is inclusive and open to all. It strives to produce a conference that is accessible and provides for maximum participation in all conference events. To that end, our annual conference will aim to

meet the needs of all attendees through inclusive design and accommodation.


In 2019, the WHA Council adopted the best practices established by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) on matters regarding Indigenous identity fraud. NAISA's most recent Statement on Indigenous Identity Fraud can be found here


The Western History Association works to maintain an environment that allows persons in the historical profession to flourish by encouraging respectful, inclusive, and equitable treatment of all who participate in WHA activities.  As a statement of principle, the WHA rejects harassment, discrimination, and retaliation by any means, based on sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.  Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment that impedes the advancement of historical knowledge by marginalizing individuals and communities.  It also damages productivity and career growth, and prevents the healthy exchange of ideas.  We affirm that discrimination and harassment are unacceptable in any research or learning environment.  The WHA is committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all. 

FORTHCOMING: In spring 2023 the WHA started drafting a Code of Conduct to encompass the scope of the association's expectations for all forms of professional behavior. The WHA Council expects to release the updated statement on conduct, enforcement policy,  and reporting process in 2024.

To report an incident, contact the chair or a member of the WHA's Professional Environment Committee. The PEC is listed on the organization's committees page. 

The policy pertains to all WHA activities, including events associated with WHA conferences and any WHA-related business occurring throughout the year.  It encompasses interactions in person, by telephone, and by electronic communication.  The policy applies to all members and participants of the WHA conference program.

Our members have also formed the Committee on Assault Response and Educational Strategies (CARES).  Learn more about this Standing Committee and the resources it provides to WHA members and conference participants through the WHA-CARES website.


Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860 

The WHA is located in the Department of History at the University of Kansas. The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!