2020 Conference Program

We are pleased to announce that the 2020 WHA Conference Program, "Migrations, Meeting Grounds, and Memory" will arrive in the mail for current WHA members by Labor Day! View the 2020 program here and download a PDF of the 2020 program here

You can also view the conference errata here.

If you joined or renewed your membership after August 21 and you meet the pre-registration deadline, you will receive a printed program in the mail in early October. 

Do you have a special request for a printed program? Contact our staff today at wha@westernhistory.org

2020 Graduate Student Workshop

The deadline for applications is September 28, 2020!

Attention all graduate students! Don't forget about the annual Grad Student Workshop sponsored by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University! The workshop, taking place on Tuesday, October 13 at 2:00 PM (CDT), is designed to help graduate students in their thesis and dissertation research. All you need to do is apply in advance! Read the full announcement 

Application details:

Graduate students wishing to apply for the workshop should send an e-mail to wha@westernhistory.org with the words “2020 Grad Student Workshop Application” in the subject line. The e-mail should include one single attached Word document which identifies the following:

  1. Student’s institutional affiliation
  2. Description of what stage of her or his program the student has reached
  3. Enumerate the student’s research experience to date
  4. Provide an overview of the student’s dissertation. (The overview should summarize the topic, including chronological and geographic parameters, collections of original sources already consulted and all research institutions that the student has visited or will visit.)
  5. The e-mail and document should also include the student’s preferred e-mail address

**Applications for the workshop are due Monday, September 28,2020 to wha@westernhistory.org. Questions about the applications or workshop may be directed to Peter J. Blodgett at pblodgett@huntington.org**

View the full announcement below or in pdf format here

Improving the Research Experience:

A Workshop for Graduate Students in Western American History

Tuesday October 13:  2:00 to 4:30 PM (CDT)

Sponsored by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library,

Yale University

Admission will be by advance application only

Today’s graduate students in western history confront an array of once-unimaginable obstacles in launching their careers.  As COVID-19 upends every aspect of the academic world, those of us who represent the libraries, archives and research institutions that collect and preserve the history of the North American West have re-tooled this annual workshop for our graduate student colleagues as one means of assisting those who represent the future of the historical profession.  

Participating Librarians and Archivists:

Peter J. Blodgett, Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens

J. Wendel Cox, Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian, Dartmouth College

Lisa E. Duncan, University of Arizona Libraries

Sam Herley, University of South Dakota Oral History Center, University of South Dakota Libraries

Tamsen Hert, University of Wyoming Libraries

Anne Jenner, University of Washington Libraries

Ginny Kilander, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming

Matthew Daniel Mason, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

George A. Miles, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Suzanne Noruschat, University of Southern California Libraries

Jacquelyn Reese, University of Oklahoma Libraries

Laurie Scrivener, University of Oklahoma Libraries

Benjamin Stone, Stanford University Libraries

Gregory C. Thompson, University of Utah Libraries

Rachel Vagts, Denver Public Library

This web-based workshop will run from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM (CDT) on Tuesday October 13 as part of the 2020 Western History Association conference. 

The workshop will open with a brief overview of its goals and procedures (5 minutes) followed by a session (30 minutes) that will emphasize dealing with various challenges in the era of COVID-19.  Part of that session will also include reference to various tools that will be distributed to all participating graduate students, such as a packet of information about successful grant-seeking and a digital guide to research in online sources about the history of the North American West.

The workshop will then separate into a series of “break-out rooms” (a functionality of Zoom) in which small groups of graduate students will be able to discuss their ongoing research projects with peers and with librarians and archivists.  These sessions (45 minutes) will focus upon identifying additional resources (both actual and virtual) that could sustain the specific projects under discussion and also to provide suggestions about other directions or approaches that individual projects might adopt.

In order to enhance the quality of the experience for the participants by keeping the size of the break-out sessions to four or five students each, attendance at this iteration of the workshop will be capped at 40 graduate students, selected through advance application; preference will be given to those who are at an earlier point in their pursuit of a Ph.D. so that they will have the maximum opportunity to benefit from what they learn in the workshop. Other graduate students, however, may be admitted on a space-available basis

WHA 2019 Program Committee

Leisl Carr Childers, Colorado State University (Co-Chair)
Lori Flores, Stony Brook University (Co-Chair)
Amy Lonetree, University of California, Santa Cruz (Co-Chair)
Amy Haines, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Omar Valerio Jiménez, University of Texas, San Antonio
Jonathan Foster, Great Basin College
Sarah Sadlier, Harvard University
Jeffrey Shepherd, University of Texas, El Paso
Allyson Stevenson, University of Regina
Margaret Jacobs, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, University of California, Irvine
John Findlay, University of Washington
Elise Boxer, University of South Dakota
Herbert Ruffin, Syracuse University
Casey D. Nichols, Texas State University
Taylor Spence, University of New Mexico
Janne Lahti, Free University Berlin

Diversity of Session Participants

In 2018 the WHA Council adopted the following policy to ensure the WHA conference programs reflect the diverse representation of the association and field: 1) The Program Committee will actively promote the full and equitable inclusion of racial and ethnic minorities, religious minorities, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ people on the Annual Meeting program. 2) Although not all sessions can reflect the entire diversity of the profession, the Program Committee will encourage proposers of sessions to include diverse sets of participants, addressing gender diversity, racial and ethnic diversity, sexual diversity, religious diversity, disability-based diversity, and/or LGBTQ diversity. 3) The Program Committee will encourage session proposers to consider the benefits of including on their panels historians in various career paths and of various ranks (i.e., senior scholars, public historians, graduate students, independent historians, etc.) within their organizations/institutions.

Policy on Conference Participants

It is WHA policy that all conference participants (chairs, presenters, workshop leaders, plenary speakers, and commentators) must register for the annual conference. 

In 2018 the WHA Council created an additional policy on conference participation and registration. Beginning in 2019, conference participants who do not register for the conference, or who fail to show up to the conference without alerting the WHA office, will be included on a report that is forwarded to the next three WHA Program Committee Chairs (2020, 2021, 2022). The policy was created to address participant cancellation and encourage individuals to follow-through with professional commitments. 

2020 Call for Papers

“Migrations, Meeting Grounds, and Memory”


October 13-17, 2020

We’re living once more in a moment where our collective knowledge and understanding of the migratory streams and movements that have built the ecologically diverse, Indigenous, multi-racial, and multi-cultural West that we care for are being questioned and even rejected outright.

Our understanding of the West as a set of meeting grounds where diverse peoples have come together and interacted in myriad ways, from the most positive and productive to the most violent and destructive, has to be conveyed beyond the confines of the academy to the larger public.

We are the responsible mediators and moderators of a set of connected regional histories curated through books, archives, and artifacts, but also through memories (from recorded oral histories to storytelling traditions) and are currently misremembered in the cause of cultural division.  

The WHA will gather in Albuquerque for its 60th Annual Conference and we encourage scholars and teachers of the North American West in all fields—history, American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Native American, Chicana/o, Asian, and African American Studies, literature, film, music, art and art history—members and non-members, tenure stream, renewable, and contingent faculty and professionals at all colleges, universities, and K-12 schools, independent scholars, graduate students, public practitioners in museums, art galleries, historic sites, government agencies, and others who care about the West to join us. We have a collective responsibility as conveyors and guardians of the West’s diverse cultural heritage to convey the full richness of the region’s histories of migrations, meeting grounds, and memories to a larger national and global public.

To that end, we invite submissions on all topics relating to migrations, both human and non-human, into and out of the West throughout human history, from individual and family stories, to the voluntary migrations of religious and other cultural groups, the involuntary migrations of Native peoples, the displacement and accompanying refugee migrations resulting from wars in Mexico, Central and South America, and Asia, migratory labor streams, both officially sanctioned and sin papeles, and changing immigration law and enforcement policies, as well as the migrations of animal and plant species.

We seek sessions on all cultural interactions in the region in all periods—from war, conquest, massacre, enslavement, confinement, mass incarceration, and elimination to resistance, cultural unions and exchanges, self-determination, and survivance. We welcome investigations at every historical scale, from the local to the global, from micro-histories to trans-national movements and world systems that impact the western region, as well as interactions with its lands and landscapes. We encourage proposals that connect to broader public conversations on contested memory of western events, through the written record, literary accounts, artistic renderings, museum exhibits, historic sites and reenactments, monuments, memorials, and markers.

We encourage workshops, for example, on teaching, digital humanities, public history, oral history, art and museum representation, and dissertation chapter workshops, along with readings centered seminars, and other innovative and non-traditional formats are welcome. Paper sessions (with two, three, or four papers) are also encouraged, along with roundtable formats, lightening rounds, poster sessions, film screenings, and performances. We strongly encourage full session submissions, although we will consider single papers.

See "Diversity of Session Participants" and "Policy on Conference Participants" for additional guiding policies for the WHA Program Committee.

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!

Western History Association

University of Kansas 

1445 Jayhawk Blvd.

3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045