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San Diego, California

November 1-4, 2017



Stephen Aron is professor of history and Robert N. Burr Department Chair at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his B.A. from Amherst College (1982) and his M.A. (1986) and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (1990). Aron is the author of How the West Was Lost: The Transformation of Kentucky from Daniel Boone to Henry Clay (1996); American Confluence: The Missouri Frontier from Borderland to Border State (2006); and The American West: A Very Short Introduction (2015); co-author of Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the World from the Beginnings of Humankind to the Present (4th edition, 2014); co-editor of Trading Cultures: The Worlds of Western Merchants (2001); and editor of Convergence magazine (2004-2011). He is currently writing a book with the working title Can We All Get Along: An Alternative History of the American West. In addition to UCLA, Aron has taught at Princeton University, the UniversitĂ© de Paris 1 – Sorbonne, and St. John’s University (where he held the Peter and Margaret D’Angelo Chair in the Humanities in 2015). In 2011, Aron was elected to the American Antiquarian Society and in 2015 to the Society of American Historians. From 2002-2014, Aron split his appointment between UCLA and the Autry Museum, where he served as the founding executive director and then chair of the Autry’s Institute for the Study of the American West.

In my dual (and occasionally dueling) roles at the Autry and UCLA, I have sought to bridge the divide between "academic" and "public" history. That has been facilitated by my emphasis in publications, teaching, and museum programming on “convergence” as a lens through which to view the western past. Defined by the Autry as a “a way of seeing the large evolving story of the American West as an interwoven tapestry of cultures and peoples, and a way of understanding how their stories are connected to one another and to us,” convergence, I believe, offers one framework to bring the West and western historians together. Bridging divides and exploring convergences are essential to “expanding western horizons,” the theme of the 2016 Western History Association meeting, for which I am the co-chair of the program committee. They would also be central to my term as president, which, I hope, would allow us to expand the ranks and reach of the WHA.


Browse or download the 2017 Conference Program by clicking on the program cover.


Katherine Benton-Cohen, Georgetown University (Co-Chair)

Andrew Graybill, Southern Methodist University (Co-Chair)

Kelly Lytle-Hernandez, UCLA (Co-Chair)

Kent Blansett, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Flannery Burke, Saint Louis University
David Cartwright, Autry National Museum
Connie Chiang, Bowdoin College
Brian S Collier, University of Notre Dame
Marque Vestal, University of California, Los Angeles
Jennifer Holland, University of Oklahoma
David Igler, University of California-Irvine
Katrina Jagodinsky, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Jeannette Eileen Jones, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Julian Lim, Arizona State University
Traci Voyles, Loyola Marymount University
George Miles, Yale University
Pablo Mitchell, Oberlin College
Megan Nelson, Independent Writer
Erika PĂ©rez, University of Arizona
Sherry Smith, Southern Methodist University
Elliott West, University of Arkansas


Ross Frank, University of California, San Diego (Co-Chair)

S. Deborah Kang, California State University, San Marcos (Co-Chair)

John Putman, San Diego State University (Co-Chair)

Jill Watts, California State University, San Marcos 

Linda Canada, Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego

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!