WHA 2021 Conference: Present your work in Portland!

To submit your work for the 2021 WHA Conference in Portland, please carefully review the following sections. If you contact the WHA office with questions, the staff will first direct you to read the contents of this page.


1. We anticipate that the WHA's 2021 online abstract submission platform (powered by All Academic, Inc.) will open on November 10, 2020. All submissions are due December 15, 2020; no extensions will be granted. 

2. Please note that submitting an abstract for the 2021 WHA Conference verifies each presenter’s commitment to attend and register for the conference--even an online conference--should their presentation be selected for the program. 

3. All panels accepted for the 2020 program that chose to withdraw from the 2020 online conference must resubmit their panels to be reviewed and ranked by the 2021 Program Committee. 

4. The Program Committee prefers reviewing full session proposals, but will also consider individual papers. If you need to connect with other scholars before the deadline, please check out the "WHA 2021 Potential Panel Spreadsheet" created by Kathryn Carpenter (Ph.D. History Student at Princeton--follow on Twitter: @katebcarp).

Follow the directions and work through the process carefully. Each section below was designed to assist you in this process: 

Checklist: Panel organizers, consult this before submitting a full panel

Checklist for panel organizers to submit a full panel through the online platform for 2021*:


1. Title for Session/Workshop/Roundtable (20 words max)


2. Group Abstract for Session/Workshop/Roundtable (250 words in one paragraph) that is clear in its concept, appropriate of participants and component parts, engages with the conference theme, and adds overall value to the program.


3. Are you submitting a “Book Panel” or an “Honorific Panel”? Not sure? Please consult the WHA’s “Best Practices” for organizing Book Panels and Honorific Panels below.


4. Three Keywords that describe the topic/theme of your Session/Workshop/Roundtable


5. Audio Visual (AV) or Accessibility Requests


6. Indication of a Sponsored Session (most submissions are *not* sponsored)


7. Session Representation (200 words max; do not leave this field blank or write “NA”):

This field seeks to answer the following question in regard to the representation of session participants >>> Is there anything about the makeup of your panel participants (backgrounds, positions, occupations, disciplines, institutions/organizations, and other factors of diversity) that the Program Committee should be aware of? Please consult the WHA’s Program Committee Statement on the Diversity of Program Participation (see below).


8. Knowledge of the 2021 travel plans or online preferences for each individual on the panel


9. Confirmation that all participants have reviewed/created/updated their All Academic profiles:

As the panel organizer, you may not create or update other people’s profiles. Everyone must do that on their own. The following items are essential factors of the submission process as they allow for efficient communication with program participants who are accepted for presenting their work at the 2021 conference. The WHA offices asks that, as the organizer, you be responsible for making sure your panel participants do the following:

    • understand the WHA policy on conference registration
    • acknowledge the WHA Code of Conduct and Enforcement Policy
    • review the accuracy of their profiles
    • communicate their 2021 travel plans or online preferences

10. Individual Presentation Titles from each Participant (20 words max)


11. Individual Presentation Abstracts from each Participant (150 words in one paragraph)


12. The name of a confirmed participant to serve as the Chair for your Session/Workshop/Roundtable. One Chair is required for all panels. You may have more than one Chair, but your Chair cannot also serve as a Presenter on your panel


13. A Commentator is optional and encouraged for your Session/Workshop/Roundtable, but is not required. If your panel seeks to add a Commentator if it is accepted, add that to the “Special Requests” field.


See "Q3" under the Frequently Asked Questions to view the process for submitting your full panel once you have everything collected. 


*This list has changed since 2020! Click here for a printable copy of this checklist along with the WHA's Policies and Best Practices for Program Participation. 


Frequently Asked Questions: More details for submitting your work

Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the following to assist you while you prepare to submit your proposal for the 2021 WHA Conference in Portland. 

Q1: FIRST THINGS FIRST: I want to submit my work for the 2021 WHA Conference! What is my FIRST step?


Step 1: Review, Update, or Create your All Academic profile >>> Everyone must do this.

All panel participants and individuals must review, create, or update their own profile on the All Academic site before submitting a panel proposal or individual proposal. You can complete this task list on November 10 when the system opens.

  • Review/Create your profile! If you already have an All Academic profile, the WHA requires you to review it before you submit your work. There are several crucial Yes/No questions that are NEW for the 2021 submission system.
  • Update your profile! Time flies, and it is amazing how quickly affiliations and email addresses change. The office needs your most updated information in order to effectively communicate with you throughout the submission and program development process. This includes the email address you regularly use, not a junk email address.
  • No duplicates! Please do not create a duplicate profile--rather, update your existing profile.
  • You will not be able to submit your work until profiles are reviewed/created/updated! You will not be able to submit a full panel until all panel participants complete the review of their All Academic profiles.
  • Do not do other people's work for them! ***Do not, under any circumstances, review/create/update an All Academic profile on behalf of someone else on your panel. Everyone is busy, but everyone must complete this step on their own.*** 

>>>CREATE YOUR NEW ALL ACADEMIC PROFILE HERE


Q2: I am submitting my work as part of a full panel submission, but I am not the panel organizer. How can I prepare my materials to make sure our organizer has everything they need to submit our panel on time? 


1. Review, Create, or Update your  All Academic profile:

All presenters and participants must review, create, or update your own All Academic profiles. In these profiles, you must recognize that you:


  • understand the WHA policy on conference registration (all participants must register for onsite/online conferences)
  • acknowledge the WHA Code of Conduct and Enforcement Policy
  • reviewed the accuracy of your profiles and provided the most updated contact information and affiliations
  • communicated your 2021 travel plans or online preferences
  • >>>>REVIEW, CREATE, OR UPDATE YOUR ALL ACADEMIC PROFILE HERE



2. Individual Presentation Titles from each Participant (20 words max)


3. Individual Presentation Abstracts from each Participant (150 words in one paragraph)


4. FYI: The panel Chair or Co-Chairs cannot also serve as Presenters on your panel. 


5. Check with your panel organizer and see what else they might need from you.



Q3: I am the panel organizer for a group of people. How do I submit a full session/workshop/roundtable through the system once I have gathered all materials on the Checklist?


1. That's a great question!  Please first follow the Checklist for panel organizers to submit a full panel through the online platform for 2021 found above  on this page. This Checklist includes word limits and panel specifics to guide you through the submission process on All Academic. 

2. Make sure you review/update/create your All Academic profile.

3. Do you have all the material from the above checklist and are you ready to submit your panel? Great! Then proceed...

4. >>>>LOGIN TO ALL ACADEMIC TO SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL HERE

Click "Submit or Edit a Proposal," then "Submit a New Proposal." Select "Session," "Workshop," and "Roundtable." 


5. Enter all information required on the form for Sessions/Workshops/Roundtables. Again, you should pre-collect and organize this information using the checklist included in item "1" above).

6. Add your panel presenters: Click "Add Paper" to enter the presentation titles and abstracts for each participant. On the next page search for the author's last name to add them as a Presenter on your Session/Workshop/Roundtable. 

7. After you added each presenter, add the name of your Chair and Commentator.

  • Chairs are required for ALL panel submissions for Sessions/Workshops/Roundtables and you cannot finalize your submission until you list the name of the chair who confirmed their participation on your panel. Your panel Chair cannot also serve as a Presenter on your panel. Your Chair should hold a stand-alone role on your panel. 
  • Commentators are optional and encouraged, but not required. If your panel would like to have a Commentator but you have not confirmed one, please indicate this in the "Special Requests" field of your panel submission form. 

8. Worth Repeating: Your panel Chair cannot also serve as a Presenter on your panel. Your Chair should hold a stand-alone role on your panel unless they also serve as your Commentator. 

9. Does your panel appear in the order it should? Place the Chair first, and the participant names in their presentation order. Paper titles should appear underneath the names of panel participants.

10. On the final page look over your information and click "Accept and Continue" to submit your abstract. 

11. You and your panel participants will receive a confirmation email from All Academic after you complete the submission process.



Q4: I want to submit my work as an individual paper (not in a session/workshop/roundtable). What information do I need to prepare before I can submit my paper through the system?


1. Make sure you review/create/update your profile on All Academic, the WHA's online abstract platform. >>>>LOGIN TO ALL ACADEMIC TO SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL HERE

2. Once logged into the system, click "Submit or Edit a Proposal," then "Submit a new Proposal"

3. Enter the following: 

  • Paper Title (20 words max)
  • Paper Abstract (150 words)
  • Select three Keywords that cover the breadth of your proposal
  • Enter AV, Accessibility, or Special Requests
  • Suggest names of potential Chairs and Commentators for your paper if it is accepted for the program

4. You will be asked to add an "author" for the paper. At the bottom of this page, enter your last name and click "search." find your name in the list and click "Add Presenter."

5. On the final page look over your information and click "Accept and Continue" to submit your abstract. You should receive an automating email from the online system that confirms your submission.



Q5: Can I begin working on my proposal, save it, and return to the site later to edit it before submitting the final version?


Yes! This system allows panel organizers to return to your panel submission to make changes or updates up until the December 15 deadline. Click on each "Accept and Continue" prompt (lower right-hand corner of each page) to enter and save your work in the system. After the last prompt you will receive a confirmation email letting you know that you submitted your work to the system. But remember, you can go back at any time prior to the CFP deadline to edit your session, add participants, and revise your abstract. You will be unable to edit your submission after the CFP deadline, so please make sure your information is accurate on December 15.



Q6: What’s the difference between roundtables, workshops, and sessions? How do I know what kind of panel I should submit?


If you wish to submit a panel that does not fit into a “Roundtable” or “Workshop” category, submit it as a “Session.”



Q7: Do I need to submit a full panel proposal (participants, chair, commentator) or can I submit an individual paper for the conference program?


The Program Committee prefers full panel proposals (sessions, roundtables, or workshops), but will also accept individual papers. If you want to try and connect with other scholars before the CFP deadline, please check out the "WHA 2021 Potential Panel Spreadsheet" created by Kate Carpenter (Ph.D. Student at Princeton--follow @katebcarp).



Q8: Can the Chair and Commentator be the same individual?


In order to maximize program participation, the Program Committee prefers that the Chair and the Commentator roles are not shared by the same individual. Full panel proposals *must* include a Chair, but a Commentator is optional; Individual paper proposals must include suggestions for people to fill these roles should their proposal be accepted and combined into a full panel. Please note: Do not, under any circumstances, add people to your session in these roles unless they have confirmed their involvement in your full panel proposal (see Q12 below).



Q9: Can I be on more than one panel on the 2020 Conference Program?


Except in special circumstances, no single person should participate in more than two conference sessions, and these would need to be in two different roles (i.e., commentator, presenter, roundtable participant, chair, etc.). For some examples of how this works, see the Program Committee's Policies and Best Practices below. If you are asked to join a panel but find yourself already over-committed on other panels, it would be stellar professional courtesy to point the requester in the direction of a student or scholar who is doing similar work who would be a good fit for the panel: "I am sorry, I am already committed to a panel/panels for the 2021 conference program, but X, Y, and Z, are doing similar work and would be an excellent fit for your proposed panel."



Q10: What are the lengths and specifics of abstracts for full panel proposals and for individual paper proposals?

Full panel abstracts for the group session/roundtable/workshop must be 250 words in one paragraph; individual abstracts for the group session/roundtable/workshop must be 150 words in one paragraph; individual paper abstracts must be 150 words in one paragraph.



Q11: How do I know if my panel or individual proposal was submitted correctly?


You will receive an automatic message sent to the email address you entered in the system which verifies that your proposal was officially submitted. If you would like to have extra confirmation, email the WHA office with your request.



Q12: Can I add names of session participants without confirming their involvement?


No. The Program Committee assumes that all participants have verbally agreed to their commitment on proposals that are submitted. Proposals submitted without someone’s consent will be automatically eliminated.



Q13: This process seems difficult. Can I just email my proposal?


No. Proposals that are emailed or mailed will not be considered for the program. If you can handle registering for a conference or writing a conference presentation, the online abstract submission platform should be a process you can achieve.



Q14: What kinds of AV equipment does the WHA provide?


The WHA will provide projectors (with an HDMI connection), screens, and podiums (combined estimated price of $1700 per panel, per day). All WHA participants need to provide their own laptops and specialty adapters if they are needed during their panel. It is not guaranteed that WHA Staff or AV Technicians will have the correct adapters, so please plan ahead.


If you have extra requests (such as speakers for a film session), you are required to list it in your panel proposal in the “AV Request” field. High-Speed (or WiFi) Internet will not be available in each session room, so please plan ahead.


Additional AV requests (special connectors, speakers, laser pointers, etc.) made after July 1, 2021 or onsite at the conference will be the *financial responsibility of the presenter*. (The WHA will order the requested equipment and send an invoice to the presenter; if a request is made onsite the presenter will need to pay before the WHA staff makes an equipment request to the onsite AV company). 



Q15: What if someone on my panel cannot attend the conference and needs to Zoom into the session?


At this time, the WHA cannot guarantee how or if this option will be available at the 2021 conference. The WHA office and Program Committee recommend that panel participants discuss their options and preferences before they submit their session/workshop/roundtable and be sure to list their "2021 Travel Plans" and "Online Preferences" in their All Academic profiles.



Q16: I noticed I need to fill out a field titled “Session Representation.” What does that mean?


In this section, the organizer/submitter should answer the following question in regard to the representation of session participants: Is there anything about the makeup of the panel participants (backgrounds, positions, occupations, disciplines, institutions/organizations, and other factors of diversity) that the Program Committee should be aware of? Read the Program Committee's Statement on the Diversity of Session Participants below. Please do not leave this section blank or put "no" or "NA" in it.



Q17: If my proposal is accepted, am I required to register for the conference in 2021? What are the consequences if I do not register or show up?


Yes, it is WHA policy that all conference program participants register for the conference. Please read the WHA's Policy on Conference Participation below.



Q18: Do I need to be a member of the WHA to submit a proposal or present at a conference?


No, membership is not required to present your work at the WHA conference. But we hope you consider joining the WHA to benefit from annual membership and registration discounts!



Q19: Who should I contact with my questions?


If you have questions about specific content or sessions you are organizing, email the 2021 Program Committee Co-Chairs (Erika Bsumek, embsumek@austin.utexas.edu; Erik Loomis, eloomis@uri.edu; and Michael Witgen, mwitgen@umich.edu). If you need assistance with the online abstract platform on All Academic, please contact the WHA staff: wha@westernhistory.org


WHA Policies and Best Practices for Program Participation

The following includes a list of the WHA's Policies and Best Practices to guide the Program Committee in making selections for the annual conference program. Please review these Council-approved guidelines carefully. For a printable version of this list click here.



Policy: Program Participants and Conference Registration

It is WHA policy that all conference participants (chairs, presenters, workshop leaders, plenary and session speakers, and commentators) must register for the annual conference. WHA Council has an additional policy on conference participation and registration. Conference participants who do not register for the annual 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*. This policy was created to address participant cancellation and encourage individuals to follow-through with professional commitments. (*No-shows in 2021 will be forwarded to 2022, 2023, and 2024 chairs.) 



Policy: Diversity of Program Participants Statement

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: Program Committee Confidentiality

All deliberations of the Program Committee (which include, but are not limited to, ranking sessions and papers, evaluating sessions and papers, and making recommendations to strengthen sessions and papers for the annual program) remain completely confidential.



Best Practices: Program Participant Repeaters 

Except in special circumstances, no single person should participate in more than two conference sessions, and these would need to be in two different roles (i.e., commentator, presenter, roundtable participant, etc.). Program Committee Co-Chairs must follow through with enforcing this policy throughout the review and program planning process. For an example of different situations, see this list.



Best Practices: Criteria for Honorific Panels (panels that honor an individual)

A. The individual being honored must be or have been a long-time WHA member in good standing. To prove this, the conference submission must include the (estimated) years of an individual’s membership and an overview of their WHA-related activities. The Program Committee is within the right to verify this information with the WHA’s records in the executive office.


B. The panel must adhere to the WHA’s Code of Conduct and Enforcement Policy. To this end, the panel should not exhibit any overlying power structures that suggest an individual or individuals were coerced into creating and organizing the panel out of intimidation.

C. The panel must adhere to the WHA’s official policy on the Diversity of Session Participants (see above) that the Program Committee uses when evaluating all program sessions.

D. The Program Committee maintains the right to recruit an honorific panel to expand the diversity of honored individuals.

E. The Program Committee will typically consider no more than two or three honorary panels per conference program.

F. If a panel is accepted under the requirements of item “A/B/C/D” there is an understanding with the panel organizers that the WHA will not arrange for book signings, sales, and displays to coincide with the panel’s time and location. If the organizers seek this activity, they must coordinate directly with a publisher in the exhibits hall.


Best Practices: Criteria for Book Panels

A. Panels submitted by the Committee on Teaching and Public Education, which use recent publications to connect K-12 Teachers with scholars with the intention of creating lesson plans on the history of the American West are acceptable panels and not considered “book panels.”

B. Panels that celebrate a group of books (3-4) or book that have significantly shaped the western history field (or a western history subfield) are acceptable if they concentrate on books published years prior to the proposed conference year. The organization of these panels must adhere to the WHA’s Code of Conduct and Enforcement Policy and Diversity of Session Participants (see above) policies.

C. If a panel is accepted under the requirements of item “B,” there is an understanding with the panel organizers that the WHA will not arrange for book signings, sales, and displays to coincide with the panel’s time and location. If the organizers seek this activity, they must coordinate directly with a publisher in the exhibits hall or purchase an exhibit booth at the regular price.

2021 Call for Papers

“To the West and Beyond: The Local and the Global in Western History”

61st Annual WHA Conference

October 27-30, 2021

Portland, Oregon

#WHA2021


The American West and its people have never existed in isolation, nor has it or they ever been exceptional. Rather the West has always been interconnected with other regions of the world through migration, trade, intermarriage, and technology. Consequently, as a region, it has reflected the myriad of conflicting beliefs and traditions of those who have called this place home while living among an array of diverse neighbors.


The 2021 WHA Program welcomes sessions and individual proposals that examine the interconnectedness of peoples and places in the American West. We are particularly interested in hosting panels that break out of the traditional paper-reading format. Portland is an ideal host city in which to explore these themes of globalization, connections, and local reactions to these broader influences. In the 1840s, American, British, and French traders encountered the Upper Chinook, Multnomah, and Cascade peoples along the banks of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. The resulting clash and changes brought to the region are only a microcosm of what has played out in the West over the last half a millennium. Today, Portland is a gateway that connects the economies and societies of the Pacific Rim from the United States to Mexico to the Philippines to China and India. Like the West writ large, Portland is a crossroads of people, ideas, goods, and technologies.


Portland is a city of confluence and convergence that seeks global significance. Yet, with a remarkably homogeneous population well into the twenty first century (many would say by design), its recent and carefully curated reputation for tolerance is under challenge. Social movements that demand local and global focus on climate change, globalization, and immigration clash in the city’s streets of Antifa and the Proud Boys highlight the unsettled nature of American identity and conquest itself. Moreover, Oregon has been the background for many of the tensions in recent American history--environmental protection and the northern spotted owl, Rajneeshpuram and religious pluralism, LGBTQ+ rights movements and those who oppose them, and the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by far-right activists in 2016. As such, we encourage sessions that explore the history and entanglement of the indigenous peoples, settlers, and interlocutors in the North American West.


The 2021 Program Committee is Co-Chaired by Erika Bsumek (University of Texas, Austin), Erik Loomis (University of Rhode Island), and Michael Witgen (University of Michigan.)


The hard deadline is December 15, 2020 and no extensions will be granted through the WHA's online abstract submission platform. If you have questions please contact the 2021 Program Co-Chairs or the WHA Office (wha@westernhistory.org).


The All Academic, Inc., staff is working on launching the online abstract platform for the 2021 Call for Papers and will open it as soon as possible--we hope by November 10! In the meantime please check out this 2021 Google sheet to exchange ideas for joining a panel! 


Travel scholarship and prizes for students and public historians are awarded annually by the WHA. Please visit the WHA awards for more information.


Policy: Program Committee Statement on Diversity of Session Participants:

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.

2021 Program Committee Co-Chairs:


Erika M. Bsumek

University of Texas at Austin





Erik Loomis

University of Rhode Island



Michael Witgen

University of Michigan



2021 Program Committee

Erika M. Bsumek, University of Texas at Austin (Co-Chair)

Erik Loomis, University of Rhode Island (Co-Chair)

Michael Witgen, University of Michigan (Co-Chair)

Juliana Barr, Duke University
Maurice Crandall, Dartmouth College
Heather Ponchetti Daly, UC San Diego and Irvine Valley College
Liz Elizondo, Virginia Military Institute

Brian Hosmer, Oklahoma State University
David Igler, University of California, Irvine
S. Deborah Kang, University of Texas, Dallas
Brian Leech, Augustana College
Lindsay Stallones Marshall, University of Illinois - Urbana Champagne
David Martinez, Arizona State University
Sheila McManus, University of Lethbridge
Kelli Mosteller, Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center
Lina-Maria Murillo, University of Iowa
Andrew Needham, New York University
Nakia Parker, Michigan State University
Katrina Phillips, Macalester College
Taylor Rose, Yale University
Lissa Wadewitz, Linfield University
Joel Zapata, Oregon State University

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  

wha@westernhistory.org