2021 Conference Program

The Schedule of Sessions for the 2021 WHA Conference (ONSITE) is now available!

The full program is available now!

2021 WHA Program


View 2021 Program in pdf format:

2021 WHA Program (pdf)


Click below to preview the onsite session schedule for Portland:

2021 Schedule of Sessions


The 2021 Conference Errata will be updated daily and is available below:

2021 Errata

WHA Plugged In: 2021 Pre-Con Sessions


Can't join us in Portland? This year, the WHA will be hosting a Completely Online, Pre-Conference Event! You can preview the Pre-Con Schedule of Sessions! 

Pre-Con Schedule of Sessions



The 2021 Conference Errata will be updated daily and is available below:

2021 Errata


2021 Program Committee Co-Chairs:


Erika M. Bsumek

University of Texas at Austin





Erik Loomis

University of Rhode Island



Michael Witgen

Columbia University



2021 Program Committee

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

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

Michael Witgen, Columbia University (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

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


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.)

To submit a full session (strongly preferred) or individual paper, please visit the WHA 2021 Conference website and follow the directions and guide for electronic submissions. (www.westernhistory.org/2021). The deadline is December 15, 2020. If you have questions please contact the 2020 Program Co-Chairs or the WHA Office.

WHA 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.


Policies and Best Practices for WHA Program

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. 



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. For an example of different situations, see this list. (*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.). PC Co-Chairs must follow through with enforcing this policy throughout the review and program planning process.



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.


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

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860

wha@westernhistory.org