WHA CARES
Committee on Assault Response and Educational Strategies

Upcoming Events

October 2019, WHA Conference in Las Vegas

Courage and Change in the Fight Against Sexual Harassment in the Academy
Annual Meeting, Western History Association
Time and Room TBA, Westgate Las Vegas

  • Chair: Erika Pérez, Associate Professor of History, Affiliated Faculty of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Arizona
  • Commentator: Cathleen D. Cahill, Associate Professor of History, Pennsylvania State University
  • José Alamillo, Professor of Chicana/o Studies, California State University, Channel Islands
  • Matt Basso, Associate Professor of History and Gender Studies, University of Utah
  • Alesha Durfee, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies, Arizona State University
  • Elizabeth Hutchison, Professor of History, University of New Mexico
  • Karen Leong, Associate Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies and Women and Gender Studies, Arizona State University

The themes of the second annual CARES panel are courage and change.  Each speaker will address the question of how individuals and institutions can find the courage to make the many changes necessary to create safe and inclusive learning and working environments in the historical profession. Karen Leong will reflect on how far the WHA has come and how far it has to go since the association’s 2004 meeting in Las Vegas, which triggered a call to change the WHA’s culture into one that was more inclusive of diverse scholars and histories of the American West. Drawing upon insights gleaned from his courses on “Masculinity” and “Gender and War,” Matt Basso will discuss students’ views of masculinity and sexual violence and conclude by describing two forms of masculinity that they see as potential antidotes: female masculinity and caring masculinity. José Alamillo will share his own efforts to dismantle toxic masculinity among men of color through his “Gender and Sexuality in the Chicanx Community” course and the Latino Male Initiative (affiliated with the CSU Men of Color Consortium) of which he is a founding member.  Alesha Durfee will offer an account of the structural causes and consequences of sexual violence in academia and explain why the individualistic discourse used in campus sexual violence prevention efforts ultimately hinders broader institutional change.  Based upon her experiences as a faculty member engaged in campus sexual violence prevention, Elizabeth Hutchison will review the challenges that have faced advocates for institutional change and suggest how we can create the institutional courage necessary to counter sexual harassment and make our campuses safer learning and working environments.

Past Events

April 6, 2019, OAH Conference, Philadelphia

The Academic #MeToo Movement: Scholars, Advocates, and Solutions to the Problems of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the Academy
Annual Meeting, Organization of American Historians
Time and Room TBA, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown

  • Chair and Moderator: Elaine Marie Nelson, Assistant Professor of History, University of Nebraska Omaha 
  • Catherine Clinton, Professor of History, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Marcy Norton, Associate Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania
  • Erika Pérez, Associate Professor of History, Affiliated Faculty of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Arizona
  • Simona Sharoni, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Merrimack College and Co-Founder, Faculty Against Rape
  • Karen Tani, Professor of Law, Berkeley Law

Sponsored by the Committee on Assault Response and Educational Strategies of the Western History Association (WHA-CARES), this roundtable will feature scholars and advocates dedicated to finding solutions to the problems of sexual harassment and violence in the academy. Topics will include the historical origins of gendered violence in the United States, the history and current status of Title IX enforcement on the nation’s college campuses, the multiple reform movements (#AcademicMeToo) initiated by historians from various fields, and the strategies adopted by Faculty Against Rape, an advocacy organization created by and for faculty, to combat sexual harassment and violence in the academic workplace.

October 18, 2018, San Antonio, Texas

WHA Spark Session: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, and the Academy (#AcademicMeToo)
Annual Meeting, Western History Association
12:15-1:30pm, Pecan Room, Hyatt Regency

  • Executive Director’s Welcome: Elaine Nelson, Assistant Professor of History, University of Nebraska at Omaha and Executive Director of the Western History Association
  • Chair: Mary E. Mendoza, Assistant Professor of History, Pennsylvania State University
  • Katrina Jagodinsky, Associate Professor of History, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Jennifer McPherson, Assistant Director of Residential Life, Purdue University
  • Virginia Scharff, Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Southwest, University of New Mexico
  • Traci Brynne Voyles, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Loyola Marymount University

As the first official session of the newly formed Committee on Assault Response and Educational Strategies (CARES), this panel will continue the conversation initiated by the 2017 WHA Spark Session. Traci Brynne Voyles will offer a general introduction to rape culture and provide concrete suggestions for male allies and even white women who want to be allies for colleagues and students of color. Drawing upon her own public outreach efforts, Katrina Jagodinsky will discuss the history of the #MeToo movement and situate it within the context of shifts in rape law and Title IX and employment sex discrimination cases. She will also outline the implications of the movement for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Black Lives Matter. Jennifer McPherson will share her experiences as the Assistant Director of Residential Life to recommend ways in which we can support survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment on our campuses. As a former campus administrator, as well as faculty member, Virginia Scharff will conclude the panel by reflecting on the obstacles, past and present, to change within the academy.

November 1, 2017, San Diego, California

WHA Spark Session: A Conversation on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in the Academy
Annual Meeting, Organization of American Historians
12:00pm – 1:00pm, Marbella Room, Hilton Mission Bay

  • Tiffany González , Texas A&M University and Coalition for Western Women’s History Graduate Student Representative
  • Erika Pérez, Associate Professor of History, Affiliated Faculty of Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Arizona
  • Amy Scott, Association Professor of History and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, Bradley University
  • Traci Brynne Voyles, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Loyola Marymount University

In light of the recent revelations about sexual abuse and misconduct by a growing number of important and powerful men in our country, including in academia, the Coalition for Western Women’s History (CWWH), the Committee on Race in the American West (CRAW), and the Graduate Student Caucus are sponsoring an informal conversation on this topic and the measures that professional organizations can take to protect and support their members, especially graduate students. How might we contribute to making academic culture a safer, more respectful space as individuals and members of the WHA?


Western History Association

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westernhistoryassociation@gmail.com 



The WHA is hosted on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and benefits from the generous support of the College of Arts and Sciences and UNO Department of History. The Western History Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.