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. 

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. While the formal process requires presses/journals to submit the work of their authors, the WHA strongly recommends that authors check with the award committee chair a week before the deadline to see if they received a copy of their work. 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. View past recipients here.



Traci Brynne Voyles, Chair
Loyola Marymount University

5744 E. Creekside Ave Unit 14
Orange, CA 92869
tvoyles@lmu.edu



Mary E. Mendoza
Penn State University 

*Recused from 2019 Committee

1628 James Road
Weybridge, VT 05753
marye.mendoza@psu.edu



Kelly Lytle Hernandez 
UCLA

*2019 Only

hernandez@history.ucla.edu


Vicki Ruiz

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. 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.She and Virginia S├ínchez Korrol co-edited the three-volume Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, which received a 2007 “Best in Reference” Award from the New York Public Library.Over the course of her career, Ruiz has participated in numerous public history and community engagement programs, including Arizona State’s Hispanic-Mother Daughter Program. From 2007-2012, she served as Dean of the School of Humanities at UC Irvine. In 2012 Professor Ruiz was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Directing twenty-six dissertations, she has mentored four generations of graduate students from UC Davis, Claremont Graduate School, Arizona State, and UC Irvine. The National Women’s History Project named her a 2015 Honoree in recognition of her scholarship. Ruiz has also received a lifetime achievement award from 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 eighth UC faculty member and first Latina so honored

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.

Past Recipients

2019 William Gow, “A Night in Old Chinatown: American Orientalism, China Relief Fundraising, and the 1938 Moon Festival in Los Angeles” Pacific Historical Review (Summer 2018)

2019 Mary E. Mendoza, “Treacherous Terrain: Racial Exclusion and Environmental Control at the U.S.-Mexico Border,” Environmental History (November 2018)

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)

2018 | Mireya Loza for "Japanese Agricultural Worker's Program: Race, Labor and Cold War Diplomacy in the Fields, 1956-1965," Pacific Historical Review (November 2017)


Western History Association

UNO History Department

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Omaha, NE 68182   (402) 554-5999

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.