2023 WHA CONFERENCE PROGRAM
The WHA's program will be available online in July and active members will receive their copy in the mail in August. Please bring this copy to the conference. If you are not a current member but join or register to attend the conference, you will receive your program copy onsite in Los Angeles.
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2023 WHA Photo Policy: Registration and attendance at, or participation in, the WHA annual conference and other sponsored events represents an agreement by the registrant/presenter/attendee to the WHA's present and future use and distribution of the registrant's/presenter's/attendee's image(s) in photographs of these events. Please contact the WHA office if you have questions or concerns about this policy.
2023 WHA PROGRAM COMMITTEE
PROGRAM COMMITTEE MEMBERS
2023 WHA CALL FOR PAPERS
RESTORATIONS AND REPAIRS:
LIVES AND LANDSCAPES ACROSS MANY WESTS
To remain in touch with the past requires a constant imaginative effort.
The program committee for the 2023 meeting of the Western History Association welcomes session and individual paper proposals that imagine the western past in conversation with the conference theme, Restorations and Repairs: Lives and Landscapes Across Many Wests. We join in collective assessment of the many ways in which historical engagement empowers us to reckon with, restore, and repair human relationships and landscapes alike. We embrace the obligation that contemplative consideration of the past is urgent in our broken world, and we accept the challenges of keeping at our work.
We will gather in downtown Los Angeles in October of 2023. Despite myriad and thorny challenges – as difficult as any across the globe – Los Angeles remains a place open to individual and community reinvention and innovation. Much of this energy is aimed at the future: how will this place, for example, embrace more sustainable patterns of environmental impact as climate change and drought deepen? How will Los Angeles, California, and the greater Wests of North America reckon with systemic racial injustice and right past wrongs through reparative action? How can we–as practitioners, educators, and activists–harness our expertise, and our access to circuits of knowledge and power, so that we can collaborate with stakeholders to reconsider the past in order to reimagine the future?
Reckoning can be retrospective, and this vantage might suggest hope. This region is more willing than it once was to grapple with histories inflected with pain. In neighborhoods, along streets, in parks and playgrounds – all across the vast public spaces of this fascinating metropolis – Angelenos are engaged in re-imagining the many pasts of place. We see the same thing happening all over the West. This is work every bit as fraught as it is exhilarating, and thus it should be with our fervent encounters with the history of the American West. Our work as historians is, as it has always been, multi-layered as to approach and application. We find conventional and unconventional ways to connect and converse with our audiences: through academic pathways; through pedagogy; through public outreach and dialogue; and through public encounters of all kinds.
Our colleague, historian Donald Worster, writes of “how much has been lost in our short years as a nation.” Loss, pain, degradation of landscape, death born of violence, neglect, and racial conquest: our West is laid atop material and spiritual grief. Yet, all across the West, reckoning with loss has within it suggestions of hope, if not redemption. Commemorative acts and memorialization movements – all of them a long time coming – remind us of the fundamental importance of our collective historical work.
Join us in October; join us in Los Angeles. Offer your ideas about the history of the West and the reckonings with time and place that are so foundational to the work we all do. We encourage proposals that engage with themes of restoration, repair, even redemption – either as they play out in our midst or as we insist that they get underway. We will come together in a place that encourages and nurtures imagination and innovation; please feel encouraged to propose your work (and the format for relaying it to your audience) in the same spirit. We come together in a place working hard to acknowledge the enduring and fundamental meaning and power of history. Please help by contributing your work and your ideas to this unending project.