CFP: 55th Annual Conference of the Western History Association

Lori Lahlum's picture

2015 Call For Papers

55th Annual Conference of the Western History Association

21–24 October 2015, Portland, Oregon


The 2015 Program Committee invites proposals that consider what has divided and connected the many peoples who have traversed, sojourned, and settled the North American West, and what might yet link their histories. A generation of new western histories has opened windows in the walls that separated histories of race, gender, class, sexuality and nation. New borderlands histories have mapped selectively porous borders: a fence at the U.S./Mexico border, a Peace Arch marking the Canada-U.S. boundary. Walls, both physical and metaphorical, have divided the spaces our histories have explored: domestic and public workspaces; sites of exclusion and containment like reservations and reserves, internment centers, labor camps, barrios and gated suburbs. Historians are often separated as well: many “new” histories remain isolated in subfields of western history, and many scholars who research western pasts have not found professional homes in the WHA. Histories of community, environment, and culture, of national and social boundaries have brought us to the thresholds of new syntheses and narratives. Such thresholds can be challenging, even daunting, but they hold enormous possibility for realistically and compassionately connecting divided pasts.

We invite proposals that interrogate what has separated westerners, western histories, and western historians and that offer creative strategies to bridge these divides. We welcome proposals that link the Wests of academic scholarship, public history and popular imagination; the boundaries and borderlands of three North American nations; the interior sites of domesticity and public arenas of politics and social change; that bring into common focus the histories and the boundaries of diverse Wests and the diverse people, environments, and economies that have forged them.

Recognizing our members’ wide range of interests, the committee will consider proposals not directly related to the conference theme.

The Program Committee welcomes a range of formats: panels, roundtables, workshops, and innovative formats. We strongly encourage full session submissions and will consider single papers that can reasonably be matched with other panels or papers. When submitting an entire session or panel, the designated contact person should submit the proposal. Please include a brief abstract (250 words) that outlines the purpose of the session. Each paper proposal, whether individual or in a session, should include a one-paragraph abstract; each presenter should submit a one-page c.v., with address, phone, and e-mail. Indicate any equipment needs. The committee assumes that all listed individuals have agreed to participate. Electronic submissions are required and should be sent, with supporting materials, as a single document (PDF) to


The CFP and Submission Guidelines are available on the Western History Association webpage at