WHA 2021 Election

Article VI of the WHA Constitution and Bylaws explains the function and process of the Nominating Committee for the organization's annual election. This year's Nominating Committee (Andy Kirk, Julian Lim, Joshua Garrett-Davis, Rosina Lozano, and Katrina Jagodinsky) arranged the slate and Council approved it. 

Electronic ballots will arrive via email from OpaVote on July 1, 2021. If you do not receive an email on July 1, or prefer a paper ballot, please contact the WHA office (wha@westernhistory.org). This is a great time to make sure your membership is up to date or to join the WHA as a new member!

Your vote matters! In 2020, the voter turnout rate was just over 50%. The WHA Governance would like to see this increase to over 55% in 2021. 

This year the membership will vote to approve updates to the WHA Bylaws. To review these updates, which the WHA Council proposed at the spring Council meeting, visit the document with track changes here. The process for updating the Constitution and Bylaws is provided in Section 4 of Article VII: Conducting Association Business in the WHA Constitution: "Changes or additions to Bylaws may be proposed by Council or by motion at an annual meeting. They must be approved by a majority vote at an annual business meeting." 


William Deverell

University of Southern California

William Deverell is Professor of History at the University of Southern California and Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. He received his undergraduate degree in American Studies from Stanford, where was mentored by Albert Camarillo, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton, where he was a student of James M. McPherson. Prior to coming to USC in 2004, Deverell taught at Caltech and the University of California, San Diego. His teaching has ranged across western and U.S. history, including classes in western environmental history; California history; the history of Los Angeles; the Civil War; and the history of American childhood. He has held residential fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, The Getty, and the Beinecke Library.

Throughout his career, he has published books and articles on western and California history. He is the author of Railroad Crossing: Californians and the Railroad, 1850-1910; Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of Its Mexican Past; and Kathy Fiscus: A Tragedy That Transfixed the Nation. As a co-author or co-editor, he has been fortunate to work with David Igler, Greg Hise, Darryl Holter, Tom Sitton, and Anne Hyde. Current work includes team-based projects on western wildfire and the history of Los Angeles Chinatown. A decade ago, he co-founded the Los Angeles Service Academy, a program that introduces high school students to the infrastructural workings of metropolitan Los Angeles.

Raised in Colorado, Professor Deverell spends chunks of any given year in the Rockies, either in his home state or in northern Wyoming. “Although I went to college expecting to become a surgeon,” he writes, “I quickly discovered my life’s work. I credit that to growing up in a household filled with books and to the cadre of brilliant and kind scholars who taught me.” Deverell especially enjoys teaching graduate students. “As a graduate student mentor and teacher,” he writes, “I work hard to listen to my students, to encourage their creativity and their voices, and to be accessible and responsive. Teaching graduate students has been fundamental to my work as a scholar, and I have loved it.”

“I am thrilled almost beyond words by my selection as President-Elect of an organization I cherish,” he writes. “I cut my teeth at the WHA as a graduate student, I gave my first paper there, and I have made life-long friends through the organization.” Professor Deverell has served the WHA in many ways: Program Committee Co-chair, WHQ editorial board member, Council member, prize committee member, and several years of conference participation. “I am deeply committed to the ways in which the WHA has embraced change in recent years,” he writes. “It is exciting to see the evolution first-hand and to think about how our work together as students of the West builds community within and beyond the academy. I would not have my career without mentors, without people whose empathy and devotion to ideas inspired me. It is important to me to try to reciprocate that.”

Council Position A

On your ballot you will vote for one person to fill Position A on the WHA Council. Electronic ballots are available to WHA members on July 1, 2021.

Matt Basso

University of Utah

I am an Associate Professor of History and Gender Studies at the University of Utah (UU). My research interests include public history and histories of the U.S. West, masculinity, labor, the working class, racial formations, war and society, and Pacific settler societies.

I’m the author or editor of four books, including Meet Joe Copper: Masculinity and Race on Montana’s World War II Home Front (University of Chicago Press, 2013), winner of the Philip Taft Labor History and American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch book awards, and Across the Great Divide: Cultures of Manhood in the American West (Routledge, 2001). My current book project uses New Zealand as a case study to critically consider settler masculinity through the lens of land, labor, family, war, and immigration.

I am passionate about community engagement and collaborative public history projects. As director of the UU’s American West Center from 2006-2012, I led the Utah Indian Curriculum Project (UICP), which includes the K-12 textbook We Shall Remain: A Native History of Utah and America and the Utah American Indian Digital Archive (https://utahindians.com). UICP won the WHA’s Autry Public History Prize, AASLH’s Award of Merit, and NCPH’s Project of the Year–Honorable Mention. At the Center, I also initiated and oversaw several oral history projects; federal, state, and tribal research contracts; film festivals; lectures; and conferences. More recently, I have served as Utah State Scholar for the Smithsonian’s The Way We Work exhibit and as PI for the National Park Service’s World War II Home Front Theme Study. Perhaps my most significant work over the last seven years has been founding and helping sustain UU’s Pacific Islands Studies Initiative, which has resulted in five faculty hires, Mellon Foundation funding, and, most importantly, improved institutional support for Pacific Island students.

If elected to the Council, I would strongly support the WHA’s efforts to diversify our membership. I’m especially keen to see further outreach to scholars in ethnic, Native American and Indigenous, gender, and American studies, and to public historians, and to amplify the Association’s anti-racist work and gender equity efforts. One of the things I’m proudest of in my career is winning the UU’s Distinguished Teaching Award and Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award. I would be a champion for pedagogical and graduate student initiatives, for instance, using my experience directing UU’s AHA-Mellon Career Diversity Grant and our internship program to improve the WHA’s support of graduate students.

Benny Andrés, Jr.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

I am honored to have been nominated to represent you on the Council. The WHA has been my professional home since my first conference in Tulsa in 1993. Over the years, I’ve presented and commented on papers, chaired panels, participated in a plenary roundtable, and served twice on the program committee. This year, I’m chairing a panel and presenting a paper. I am an Associate Professor of History and Latin American Studies. My first book, Power and Control in the Imperial Valley: Nature, Agribusiness, and Workers on the California Borderland, 1900-1940 and my current book project explore the intersection of borderlands, multiracial labor, migration, and environmental history in the lower Colorado River region. A forthcoming publication, “Colonial Care: Medicalizing Latino/a Bodies in the United States, 1894-1970s,” is the first history of US Latino healthcare. I currently serve on the editorial board of the journal California History.

My personal experience working with and teaching people from all walks of life and from around the world guide my commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Prior to moving to the South, I was a full-time teacher at a rural community college in southern California for nine years, where my students were overwhelmingly working-class minorities. I come from a similar background. After serving in the Army, I earned a degree from a community college, matriculated to San Diego State and graduate school at the University of New Mexico. During my personal and academic journey, I’ve managed oral history and public history projects and spent summers working on archeological digs in Wyoming. These varied experiences shaped how I interpret and teach western history.

If elected, I will focus on representing the organization’s broad constituency, with the primary goal of reaching diverse audiences. As a borderlands historian, I am mindful that our members reside in many countries. Another goal is to explore opportunities to expand the WHA’s membership (such as community college teachers and graduate students). The WHA is uniquely positioned to shape historical understanding of the region, and if elected, I will continue the excellent work of our predecessors to maintain the WHA’s critical role in interpreting the North American West.

Council Position B

On your ballot you will vote for one person to fill Position B on the WHA Council. Electronic ballots are available to WHA members on July 1, 2021.

Julie L. Reed

Pennsylvania State University

I am an associate professor of history at Penn State University. My research focuses on Southeastern Indians, the Five Tribes in Oklahoma, the history of social welfare, and American educational history. I am currently finishing my second book tentatively titled “Land, Language, and Women: A Cherokee and American Educational History,” which traces changes and continuities in Cherokee educational practices from the late Mississippian Period through the 20th century. Each chapter focuses on key classroom spaces including Mother Towns, caves, towns, mission stations, Cherokee public schools, and Baptist Cherokee language churches in Oklahoma. My first book Serving the Nation: Cherokee Sovereignty and Social Welfare, 1800- 1907 (University of Oklahoma Press) examined the move from an exclusively kinship-based systems of care at the turn of the 19th century to the development of hybrid national social service programs and institutions, including pensions, a prison, a mental health facility, and an orphanage in the aftermath of the Civil War in Indian Territory that integrated key ethical dimensions of the previous kinship system. I have also co-authored articles in Antiquity and American Antiquity that examine early uses of the Cherokee syllabary in caves in the southeast. I co-host the website Digadatsele’i, a clearinghouse that highlights the work of Cherokee academics and Cherokee language specialists working at universities or with tribes. I spend lots of time in and thinking about what became and is Oklahoma, a place that fits uncomfortably into other regional conferences, but is right at home among the WHA’s Many Wests.

The WHA is my favorite history conference because of its long-standing commitments to public history and engagement with K-12 educators. I have found support and a home among the Indian Scholars who convene annually at the WHA. I received the Indian Scholars Award in 2010 and since then I have had the honor to serve on and chair on the Indian Scholars’ Award committee. I am currently serving on the Donald Fixico Book Award Committee. I have also served on the Program Committee.

I have watched the WHA look within itself for more than a decade to decide how best to move forward as a regional conference committed to intellectual stretching, inclusivity, and commitments to putting those efforts into practice. Serving on council provides me another means of learning from, contributing to, and helping to sustain the WHA for years to come.

Rosalyn LaPier

University of Montana

Rosalyn is an award-winning Indigenous writer, ethnobotanist and environmental activist with a BA in physics and PhD in environmental history. She is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana and is Métis. Rosalyn works within Indigenous communities to revitalize Indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), to address environmental justice and the climate crisis, and to strengthen public policy for Indigenous languages. She is a traditionally trained ethnobotanist. She learned ethnobotany & traditional ecological knowledge by apprenticing with her maternal grandmother Annie Mad Plume Wall & her Aunt Theresa Still Smoking for more than 20 years.

She has written two books, Invisible Reality: Storytellers, Storytakers and the Supernatural World of the Blackfeet, (winner of the 2018 John C. Ewers Book Award & the 2018 Donald Fixico Book Award) and City Indian: Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893-1934, co-authored with David R.M. Beck, (winner of the 2016 Robert G. Athearn Award), two Blackfeet language lexicons, and dozens of publicly engaged articles and commentaries. She is working on a third book. She is currently serving as an American Council on Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellow in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs during her sabbatical year, 2020/21.

Rosalyn has attended WHA conferences, on and off, since the 1990s, when she worked as an instructor for ten years at NAES College, a Native controlled college. At that time, she was perhaps one of the few Indigenous faculty from a tribal college who attended the WHA conference. She then took a hiatus from attendance for several years as she worked with an Indigenous language immersion school before returning to the Academy. She is currently an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Montana, and a Smithsonian Institution research associate. In the past several years she has served on the editorial board of Montana The Magazine of Western History, as a new editor for the “Borderlands and Transcultural Studies” series with University of Nebraska Press, and the WHA’s Robert G. Athearn Award committee.

Why the WHA Council? First because I was asked to run for Council. And second because I believe we need more community-based perspectives. I am new to the Academy, after working at a tribal college and tribal non-profit for many years. I have seen how the WHA has worked to add new diverse membership and audiences to the organization, and to the conference and field of Western History. I believe WHA should continue to strengthen and built this community of scholars.

Nominating Committee Position A

On your ballot you will vote for one person to fill Position A on the WHA Nominating Committee. Electronic ballots are available to WHA members on July 1, 2021.

Doug Kiel

Northwestern University

Shekóli! I am an Assistant Professor of History and the Humanities at Northwestern University, and a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. I joined the WHA and attended my first conference in 2006, in St. Louis, and ever since have been interested in the overlapping histories of the American Midwest and West. In 2007, I received the WHA’s Indian Student Conference Scholarship. Now, I teach courses on the history of American Indian law and policy, the Red Power movement across the US and Canada, and race in the U.S. Midwest.

I am currently finishing a book manuscript entitled Unsettling Territory: Oneida Nation Resurgence and Anti-Sovereignty Backlash. This book highlights the long process of buying back reservation land to recover from the Dawes General Allotment Act’s (1887) devastating effects, and the contemporary legal disputes with local governments overlapping tribal territory. An article I wrote on the subject, “Nation v. Municipality: Indigenous Land Recovery, Settler Resentment, and Taxation on the Oneida Reservation,” won the WHA’s Arrell M. Gibson Award in 2020. I now serve as the newest member of the Gibson Award Committee. My next book project, Power over the Land: Race, Colonialism, and the American Midwest, will build upon an earlier article, “Untaming the Mild Frontier: In Search of New Midwestern Histories,” which won the Midwestern History Association (MHA) Dorothy Schwieder Prize in 2015. I also recently contributed a foreword to Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology from Middle America (2021).

The WHA has shaped me as a scholar, and I have always admired the WHA’s commitment to public history. Beyond the university, I have worked on a variety of museum projects, most recently as an advisor and co-curator for the Field Museum’s new permanent exhibit on Native North America, scheduled to open in Spring 2022. I have also put my historical training to use as an expert witness regarding Indigenous land rights litigation. If elected to the WHA Nominating Committee, I would advocate for a slate of candidates that is broadly diverse, inclusive, and equitable in numerous ways. I hope to see K-12 teachers in positions of WHA leadership, for instance. I have prior experience as chair of the Nominations Committee for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), previously served on the Programming Committee for WHA 2016, and will again for 2022. It would be an honor to serve the WHA Nominating Committee, thank you for your consideration.

Katrina Phillips

Macalester College

In all honesty, it took me a little while to see that the WHA was a place for someone like me. But now that I’ve found it, I’m so grateful for the camaraderie and the sense of community the WHA has provided ever since. I’m currently an assistant professor of American Indian history and the history of the American West at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and I’m also a citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.

My first book, Staging Indigeneity: Salvage Tourism and the Performance of Native American History (University of North Carolina Press, 2021), examines how – and why – communities across the United States hoped to capitalize on the histories of Native people in order to create tourist attractions. From the Happy Canyon Indian Pageant and Wild West Show in Pendleton, Oregon to outdoor dramas like Tecumseh! in Chillicothe, Ohio and Unto These Hills in Cherokee, North Carolina, I argue that these staged performances claimed to honor Indigenous pasts while depicting that past on white settlers’ terms. I’ve also been building the public scholarship element of my work and research, and I’ve worked to make history – particularly Native history – accessible to audiences outside the academy. As a historian, my role in these conversations is centered around helping people understand the historical roots of important and timely current events.

I’m currently serving on the 2021 WHA Program Committee, and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to serve in this capacity while learning more about the WHA governance structures. If elected to the Nominating Committee, I would work to promote and support the council’s work in continuing to make WHA a place for scholars from diverse backgrounds and communities, and I would work to ensure that the organization’s members and conference attendees see WHA as a place to expand our historical horizons. I would be honored to support the WHA’s goals and missions through the Nominating Committee.

Nominating Committee Position B

On your ballot you will vote for one person to fill Position B on the WHA Nominating Committee. Electronic ballots are available to WHA members on July 1, 2021.

Katherine Benton-Cohen

Georgetown University

I am honored to be a candidate for the WHA’s Nominating Committee, where I hope to cultivate leadership to support the outstanding work of executive director Elaine Nelson and others in diversifying our membership, conference offerings, and social media presence. I will ensure that diverse scholars continue to have a voice and, in particular, that WHA CARES (Committee on Assault Response and Education Strategies) continues to be a national leader confronting hostile environments, sexual harassment and misconduct. I am also excited to endorse our continued relationships with K-12 teachers, minority-serving institutions, and graduate mentoring.

My WHA membership dates to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I joined a large “mafia” of WHA lifers and attended my first conference in St. Paul in 1997. Since then, I’ve attended all but three conferences (I boycotted Scottsdale because of the events at the Las Vegas conference and because it was during Yom Kippur). Over the years I have brought children, a spouse, and my mother to conferences. The WHA is the one organization to which I have consistently devoted my time: twice on the program committee (once as co-chair), on the Ledesma Prize Committee from 2004-2007, and currently on the W. Turrentine Jackson Book Prize Committee. I am proud to have received two awards at WHA—the Ledesma Dissertation Grant, and the Billington Prize, for my first scholarly article. Most important to me, however, is my role in co-founding CRAW, the Committee on Race in the American West, to promote two causes dear to me: making western history more welcoming to a diverse group of scholars, and encouraging scholarly work on race in the American West.

My scholarship needs the WHA: recently I have embarked on a global history of the Phelps- Dodge family and corporation, whose copper mining empire transformed the American Southwest and northern Mexico. My book, Inventing the Immigration Problem: The Dillingham Commission and Its Legacy (Harvard, 2018), was the first to consider the American West’s place in the commission’s origins and work. I am also the author of Borderline Americans: Racial Division and Labor War in the Arizona Borderlands (Harvard, 2009), and served as historical advisor for the 2018 film, Bisbee ’17 (dir. Robert Greene). I hope I can help identify leaders who can make the WHA as welcoming for everyone as it has been for me.

Miroslava Chávez-García

University of California at Santa Barbara

I am a Professor in the Department of History at UCSB and hold affiliations with the Departments of Chicana/o Studies and Feminist Studies as well as Latin American and Iberian Studies. Author of Negotiating Conquest: Gender and Power in California, 1770s to 1880s (University of Arizona Press, 2004) and States of Delinquency: Race and Science in the Making of California's Juvenile Justice System (University of California Press, 2012), my most recent book, Migrant Longing: Letter Writing across the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), is a history of transnational migration, gender, courtship, and identity as told through more than 300 personal letters exchanged among family members and friends across the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. In 2020, Migrant Longing was named a 2019 Choice Outstanding Academic Title and in 2019 it received the Barbara “Penny” Kanner Award from Western Association of Women’s Historians (WAWH). In 2017, “Migrant Longing, Courtship, and Gendered Identity in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands,” published by the Western Historical Quarterly in Summer 2016, received the Judith Lee Ridge from the WAWH. In the same year, that essay was also awarded the Bolton-Cutter Award from the Western History Association for the best article on Spanish Borderlands history.

My current project, “‘The Greening of Hate’: The Environmental Movement, Population Control, and the Mainstreaming of Immigration Restriction,” examines and analyzes how advocates for the environment used growing fears over expanding global populations and depletion of the natural world’s resources in the 1960s to popularize and institutionalize immigration exclusion in the United States. The focus is on how a small yet politically and economically powerful group of people influenced mainstream environmental organizations to spread anti-immigrant sentiment and to pass increasingly draconian immigration policies and practices aimed at closing the door to people of color from around the world.

My interest in joining the WHA Nominating Committee is to help build a more inclusive membership that reflects the racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the U.S. West. Now that my family commitments have eased (as my children transition into adulthood), I feel more at ease in committing myself to academic networks and intellectual spaces where we can make new connections as well as rejuvenate old ones.   

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 | History Department

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Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860