Vicki L. Ruiz Award

The Vicki Ruiz Award is a $500 prize that recognizes the best article on race in the North American West. The Vicki L. Ruiz Award was funded by the WHA membership along with a generous contribution from the Latinx Studies Program and the Department of History at Penn State University. View past recipients here.

In 2018, the Committee on Race in the American West created the Vicki L. Ruiz Award for the best article in a peer-reviewed journal on race in the American West to honor Dr. Ruiz’s significant contributions to the field of Western History. Vicki L. Ruiz is Distinguished Professor Emerita of History and Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine. A first generation college-bound student, she received her PhD in History from Stanford University in 1982. From there, she went on to become an award-winning scholar and educator. She is the author of Cannery Women, Cannery Lives and From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth- Century America and co-author of Created Equal: A History of the United States. Over the course of her career, Ruiz has participated in numerous public history and community engagement programs, served as Dean of the School of Humanities at UC Irvine, and mentored four generations of graduate students from UC Davis, Claremont Graduate School, Arizona State, and UC Irvine (chairing 26 dissertations). She has received numerous awards and honors for her work from the National Women’s History Project, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, New York Public Library, and the Immigration and Ethnic History Association. She is past president of the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association. On September 10, 2015, President Barack Obama awarded Vicki L. Ruiz the National Humanities Medal, the first Latina so honored.

Any WHA member, publisher, or author of a peer-reviewed article, may nominate work that was published in 2018. Book chapters are not eligible. A copy of the journal, an offprint, or a photocopy must be submitted to each member of the Award Committee listed below.

Award Submission Deadline: April 15, 2019

The award recipient and editor/publisher will be notified by September 15.

2019 Vicki L. Ruiz Award Committee**

Traci Brynne Voyles, Chair
Loyola Marymount University

5744 E. Creekside Ave Unit 14
Orange, CA 92869

Mary E. Mendoza
Penn State University 

*Recused from 2019 Committee

1628 James Road
Weybridge, VT 05753

Kelly Lytle Hernandez 

*2019 Only

**In June 2019 Neil Foley resigned from serving on the Vicki Ruiz Award Committee. Kelly Lytle Hernandez, formerly the Ruiz Committee Chair (2018) agreed to serve on the 2019 Award Committee. Please contact the WHA Office or Award Committee Chair with questions.

Over the past several decades, Vicki Ruiz has made tremendous contributions to the field of Western History. In 2017 the Western History Association has created an award for the best article on race in the North American West to honor her work. It was first awarded in 2018. Please donate to this fund to get this endowment off the ground.

Past Recipients

2018 | Beth Lew-Willaims for "'Chinamen' and 'Delinquent Girls': Intimacy, Exclusion and a Search for California's Color Line," Journal of American History (December 2017)

Mireya Loza for "Japanese Agricultural Worker's Program: Race, Labor and Cold War Diplomacy in the Fields, 1956-1965," Pacific Historical Review (November 2017)

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.

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The Western History Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.