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The WHA and SHA are very pleased to welcome everyone to Kansas City this October for our concurrent conferences! This will indeed be an exceptional event that is primed to draw close to 2,000 historians. We want to thank everyone in advance for your patience and understanding as we work to finalize conference logistics. We also wish to remind you that this event is not a joint conference between our organizations.

In 2017 when we (Elaine and Steve) assumed our Executive Director positions, our respective Councils charged us to plan and execute a concurrent conference event. They were careful to emphasize that the conferences would not be jointly organized.

A “concurrent” conference? What does this mean??

  • For administrative purposes, each association has maintained the integrity of its usual schedule of sessions and events.
  • The WHA will hold all its events at the Sheraton and the SHA will hold all its events at the Westin. The two properties are joined by an elevated skylink.
  • Our respective Presidents and Presidents-Elect will be celebrated and highlighted as usual through their addresses, plenaries, meetings, and award ceremonies.
  • Thematic and field-specific activities and committees will get to keep their events and meetings intact.
  • Our staff teams will maintain separate registration desks and printed program publications.
  • Receptions and meals will remain situated in separate venues according to their home organization.
  • The exhibit halls, which we initially hoped to combine, will be physically separated between the Sheraton (WHA) and the Westin (SHA).

The program and tours are two important areas that will present crossover!

  • WHA Program: The WHA has “Crossover Conversation” sessions scheduled throughout its program to highlight panels with exciting topics covering both Western and Southern history.
  • SHA Program: The SHA also has “Crossover Conversation” sessions scheduled throughout its program to highlight panels with exciting topics covering both Southern and Western history.
  • WHA and SHA Tours: The WHA and SHA Local Arrangements Committees worked tirelessly to offer a list of tours that will be combined with WHA and SHA attendees!

The separation of the conferences offers so many chances for crossover conversations about the West and the South. As directors, we charge our members and participants to seek these opportunities to engage in new dialogues! A short trip across the “The Link” between the Sheraton and Westin will offer everyone the chance to experience a different conference.

  • We ask committees with similar passions (K-12 education, public history, accessibility, governance, etc.) to meet and converse about their initiatives and visions.
  • We encourage graduate students from both organizations to build their networks with new scholarly connections.
  • We invite everyone to attend plenaries, sessions, and buy tickets for receptions and meals outside of your home institution.

There is no day but today to try something new!

We know people will have questions. We will compile a list of FAQs that will serve to guide everyone through this unique event in the months leading up to the conference.

We look forward to every moment of our time together in October.

With sincere thanks for your patience and best wishes,

Elaine and Steve


Kelly Lytle Hernández is a professor of History, African American Studies, and Urban Planning at UCLA where she holds The Thomas E. Lifka Endowed Chair in History and directs the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. One of the nation’s leading experts on race, immigration, and mass incarceration, she is the author of Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol (University of California Press, 2010), City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles  (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), and the forthcoming book Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands (Norton, 2022). She also leads Million Dollar Hoods, a big data research initiative documenting the fiscal and human cost of mass incarceration in Los Angeles. For her historical and contemporary work, Professor Lytle Hernández was named a 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow. She is also an elected member of the Society of American Historians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Pulitzer Prize Board.


(from 2018)

The Western History Association and Southern Historical Association are pleased to announce that in 2024 the two organizations will host their conferences concurrently in Kansas City, Missouri at The Westin and Sheraton Kansas City at Crown Center. 

The WHA and SHA worked diligently on their efforts to hold overlapping events for two of the largest historical organizations focused on regional history in North America. "It has been a decades-long dream to bring together our two great organizations," notes Catherine Clinton, past president of the SHA, "and nothing could be more rewarding to me than to look forward to the SHA and the WHA meeting in 2024 in Kansas City—my home townmeeting in the same town during the same weekend for the first time. We can all look forward to seeing old friends, making new ones and finding ways to enrich and expand our thriving historical communities.” 

Clinton approached Stephen Aron, past president of the WHA, in 2016 with this ambitious idea and the two joined forces with their respective governing boards and executive offices to make the plan a reality. The conferences will share exhibit space and potentially a plenary, as well as provide members of both associations a chance to meet, mingle, and discuss important scholarship that emerges in western and southern history. "These meetings will give us a great opportunity to explore the directions and connections that link these histories and regions to one another," says Aron. "And what better place than Kansas City, on the borders and at the intersection of West and South, for us to break not bread but some of the finest barbeque together."

Keep your eye out for more announcements, each association's Call for Papers, and local arrangements details for the 2024 SHA and WHA conferences, and plan to join us in Kansas City from October 23-27! 


Dr. Stephen Berry, SHA Secretary-Treasurer

Dr. Elaine Nelson, WHA Executive Director



Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860 

The WHA is located in the Department of History at the University of Kansas. The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!