Mark your calendars for the 62nd Annual WHA Conference, which is scheduled for October 12-15, 2022, in San Antonio. Bookmark this page to check for updates on conference details, the 2022 Call for Papers, and to learn more about presenting your work in San Antonio!
Susan Lee Johnson holds the inaugural Harry Reid Endowed Chair for the History of the Intermountain West at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, having taught North American western history, gender history, and the history of sexuality to undergraduate and graduate students at four state universities, centering questions of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity in the context of changing polities and economies. In addition to history, Johnson has studied, taught, and worked in scholarly publishing, serving on the staff of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society and teaching a colloquium that produced ARCHIVE: An Undergraduate Journal of History. Johnson’s scholarship has focused on relations of power in the West as a place of lived experience and as an imagined space, exploring these themes in Roaring Camp: The Social World of the California Gold Rush (Norton 2000), which won the Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy and the W. Turrentine Jackson Prize; Writing Kit Carson: Fallen Heroes in a Changing West (North Carolina 2020); and a new book project, “The Trail the Slaves Made,” a place-based history of how the Santa Fe Trail connected slaveries and emancipations in nineteenth-century North America.
Johnson first attended a WHA meeting in 1979 and has served on the Council, as a Local Arrangements Committee Co-Chair, and as member of a Program Committee, the Martin Ridge Huntington Library Fellowship Committee, and the Caughey Book Prize Committee. In 2019, Johnson co-organized the first LGBTQ history tour at a WHA meeting. Johnson is a founding member of the Coalition for Western Women’s History, having attended the first conferences in 1983-84, and a founding coordinator of CWWH’s QuIT Organizing Committee, which is dedicated to making two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people and pasts a visible and vital force in our field.
Johnson grew up in Wisconsin and first crossed the line of semiaridity at fifteen en route to Montana. Since then, Johnson has lived in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Nevada, and spends summers in New Mexico. Johnson holds a BA from Carthage College, an MA from Arizona State University, and a PhD from Yale University, and has taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Johnson says, “There could be no greater honor than to serve as President-Elect of the organization that is my most cherished intellectual home. The WHA has changed a great deal since I drove from Tempe to attend my first meeting in San Diego in 1979, and I’m eager to carry on the work that women, scholars of color, first-generation college graduates, labor union supporters, LGBTQ rebels, and fellow travelers in the WHA have initiated.”
62nd Annual WHA Conference
San Antonio, Texas
In A Map to the Next World, U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo writes, “When traveling to another country it’s important to recognize the spirits there, and acknowledge them with prayers, so that you won’t inadvertently offend or hurt by ignorance of protocol of that place.” As historians, we may or may not read poetry and we may or may not be given to prayer, but we do traverse time and space. So we can heed Harjo when she implores us to ask that our presence in a place be “a blessing rather than a curse.” It takes a poet to make poetry of protocol, which we understand in relation to matters more prosaic—medical research and diplomatic practices, carceral codes and border routines, military maneuvers and pride parades. Harjo insists that places, including North American western places, also have protocols, even if historically those protocols have been too seldom observed.
The 2022 WHA Program welcomes session and individual proposals that consider protocols of place in North American Wests. Humans have created protocols that promote life in western places; Harjo, for instance, highlights protocols of introduction among Indigenous peoples. But in their migrations, humans have also marauded and massacred, mingled and merged, measured and manufactured, creating competing protocols that too often have reflected both inequities of power and indifference toward human and nonhuman lives. This is nowhere more evident than in the crossroads place that is San Antonio, sitting at the juncture of the western Gulf Coastal Plain and the southern Great Plains and in the homelands and trading grounds of Native speakers of Coahuiltecan, Athabaskan, Uto-Aztecan, Tonkawan, Karankawan, Tunican, Comecrudan, and Caddoan languages. When Spaniards built missions along the Río San Antonio in the eighteenth century, new crossroads emerged, and again in the nineteenth century, when four wars transformed the place from an outpost of Spanish empire, to a contested site in a newly independent Mexico, to a centerpiece of the short-lived Republic of Texas, to the largest city in the state of Texas and the regional headquarters of the Confederate Army. The military presence would only increase in subsequent decades, until San Antonio earned the moniker Military City USA. Meanwhile, after the Civil War, cattle and sheep markets collided in San Antonio as railroads converged there, creating a diverse city of Mexican Americans, Anglo Americans, African Americans, and German immigrants. The Porfiriato and the Mexican Revolution further swelled the Mexican population with displaced workers and political exiles, and when U.S. soldiers returned from the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa, they brought hundreds of Chinese immigrants who made San Antonio home to the largest Asian community in Texas until Vietnamese refugees poured into the state in the 1970s. The twentieth century also made a sonic crossroads of the city, first as a recording center for conjunto, blues, jazz, polka, country, and western swing, and then as birthplace of the West Side Sound that merged Tejano, Black, and Anglo music. Politically, San Antonio was the site of the Pecan Shellers’ Strike in the 1930s, led by organizer Emma Tenayuca; desegregation drives in the 1950s and 60s, championed by Henry B. González and the Rev. Claude Black; and, in the summer of 2020, multiracial Black Lives Matter protests.
We encourage proposals that reflect convergences like these and the protocols of place they produce, up to and including a not-yet-past of pandemic, police violence, and anti-Black racism, and of urgent, creative, collective responses that promise to transform the protocols of tomorrow at the crossroads that is the North American West. We look for work that addresses this theme using artful modes of presentation, following Harjo’s lead in offering words that are worthy of places. We invite panels created in the spirit of poetry that demonstrate engaged historical writing and make creative use of sound and images and digital tools.
To submit a full session (preferred) or individual paper, please visit the WHA 2022 Conference website (www.westernhistory.org/2022) and follow the directions and guide for electronic submissions (which will open in fall 2021). Consult the WHA’s Policy on Conference Participants (below) to adhere to the organization’s requirement that all conference participants must register for the conference if their panel or paper is accepted.
The CFP deadline is December 5, 2021. If you have questions, please contact the 2022 Program Co-Chairs: Julian Lim (Arizona State University) or Tyina Steptoe (University of Arizona). You can also contact the WHA Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Diversity of Session Participants:
The Program Committee will actively promote the full and equitable inclusion of racial and ethnic minorities, religious minorities, people with disabilities, women, LGBTQ people, and people with various ranks and career paths on this conference program. The Program Committee will encourage 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.
Policy on Conference Participants
In 2018 the WHA Council created a policy on conference participation and registration. In 2022, conference participants who do not register for the 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 (2023, 2024, 2025). Program Chairs will consult the report when making decisions about future conference programs. The policy was created to address non-registrants and participant cancellation and encourage individuals to follow-through with professional commitments.
The paper and panel submission process will open on September 1, 2021. All submissions are due December 5, 2021.
Please check this page for updates on the session submission process. In the meantime, you should create a profile on the WHA online abstract platform, which is required before submitting your work.
Travel scholarship and prizes for students and public historians are awarded annually by the WHA. Please visit the WHA awards for more information.
2022 Program Committee Co-Chairs:
Arizona State University
University of Arizona
Julian Lim, Arizona State University (Co-Chair)
Tyina Steptoe, University of Arizona (Co-Chair)
David Chang, University of Minnesota
Paul Conrad, University of Texas at Arlington
María Esther Hammack, University of Texas at Austin
Michel Hogue, Carleton University
Alison Rose Jefferson, Heritage Conservation Consultant at ARJ Enterprises
Simeon Man, University of California, San Diego
Danielle Olden, University of Utah
Bernadette Pérez, University of California, Berkeley
Mikaela Selley, Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Melissa Stuckey, Elizabeth City State University
Deborah Vargas, Rutgers University
Ernesto Chávez, University of Texas at El Paso
Mark Padoongpatt, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Laura Hooton, U.S. Military Academy at West Point
Doug Kiel, Northwestern University
2022 Local Arrangements Committee Co-Chairs