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2024: Kansas City

The deadline for submissions is December 5, 2023, at 11:59pm (Pacific). WHA Staff will be available on December 5 until 2:30 P.M. (Pacific) to provide technical support. No one will be available after 2:30 P.M. (Pacific).


Western History Association 64th Annual Conference

October 24-27, 2024, Kansas City, Missouri

Free Soil? Migration, Dispossession, and Rising Up on Contested Ground

The Western History Association was once an organization dominated by white male scholars who typically wrote triumphalist narratives. We are no longer that organization. We now produce pathbreaking scholarship by and about the members of the many communities previously excluded from traditional tales of expansion. This new work and the people writing it have transformed the WHA, the history of the U.S. West, and the profession more broadly. Our organization is now an institutional home for scholars who bring diverse viewpoints to their work, deepening our understanding of the past and enriching our experience of the present.

Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, the WHA’s 2024 conference offers an opportunity to reconsider the history and historiography of the U.S. West as a long and unfinished story of diverse peoples and their freedom dreams. An Indigenous crossroads of Kaw, Osage, Kickapoo, Missouria, and Dakota homelands, the Kansas/Missouri borderlands have long been a nexus of migration and resurgence as well as of dispossession and rebellion.  Indeed, the 19th century battles over “free soil” here remind us that efforts to secure land and liberty for some have often meant removal, exclusion, and unfreedom for others.

The 2024 WHA Program welcomes panels and papers that consider the many migrations, dispossessions, and uprisings that have shaped the U.S. West. We expect and seek panels addressing the westward tide of expansion in the United States. We also anticipate panels about migrations, dispossessions, and insurgencies that occurred prior to U.S. expansion, elsewhere on the continent, and even around the world. Consider, for example, deep Indigenous histories (and futures) and the long Black freedom struggle as well as the more recent settlement of economic migrants, refugees, and transgender persons living in exile in the region, all of which have made the U.S. West a dynamic site of intersections and relations.  We also hope to consider the bordered but unbound histories of the environment.

Meeting alongside the Southern History Association’s annual conference, we especially encourage panels that address the confluence of migrations, dispossessions, and uprisings across the lands that are now the U.S. South and U.S. West. This conference is a prime opportunity to think across, between, and even beyond traditional conventions of the “West,” with attention to debates over the making and meaning of the U.S. West in both scholarly and popular domains.

The Program Committee encourages sessions to include diverse sets of participants and 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.

Travel scholarships, support, and prizes for students and public historians are awarded annually by the WHA. Please visit the WHA website ( for more information on membership, awards, sponsors, and future events. The WHA is housed in the History Department at the University of Kansas and benefits from the generous support of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

2024 Program Committee Co-Chairs

Co-Chair, Genevieve Carpio, University of California, Los Angeles
Co-Chair, Elizabeth Ellis, Princeton University
Co-Chair, Ari Kelman, University of California, Davis

2024 WHA President

Kelly Lytle Hernández, University of California, Los Angeles

A Message from the WHA and SHA Executive Directors:

We enthusiastically celebrate the propitious timing for western and southern historians to cross paths with their work in the profession at an historic concurrent conference in Kansas City. Please note that the 2024 WHA and 2024 SHA conferences are concurrent events, not one joint event. The associations will share exhibit space and hold some overlapping features, but each will also aim to maintain their typical programs to ensure that the gatherings are familiar and enjoyable for all attendees. 

Submission Instructions

The CFP deadline is December 5, 2023. Guidelines for submitting full sessions (preferred) are available at The paper and panel submission process will open on September 1, 2023. If you have questions, please contact the 2024 Co-Chairs listed above. You can also contact the WHA office:

Consult the WHA’s Policy on Conference Participants to adhere to the organization’s requirement that all conference participants must pay a registration fee to present at the conference if their panel or paper is accepted.

Diversity of Session Participants:

The Program Committee will actively promote the full and equitable inclusion of racial and ethnic minorities, diverse Indigeneities, religious minorities, people with disabilities, women, and 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.


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