Western History Association Conference Preview

The 56th annual conference of the Western History Association takes place in St. Paul, Minnesota, from October 20-23, 2016. This year the four-day event theme is “Expanding Western Horizons,” with many planned programs focused on public history and on figuring out how the history of the American West fits into popular understandings of the United States and the world.

2016-wha-v3Editor in Chief Larin McLaughlin and Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow/Assistant Editor Niccole Leilanionapae’aina Coggins will be representing the press—be sure to stop by booth #10 to say hello and to check out our latest Western history offerings, especially titles in the Indigenous Confluences series, Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies, and Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series.

Below please find a selection of some new and forthcoming Western history titles:

Bracero Railroaders: The Forgotten World War II Story of Mexican Workers in the U.S. West
By Erasmo Gamboa

University of Washington historian Erasmo Gamboa recounts the difficult conditions, systemic racism, and decades-long quest for justice faced by the workers of the bracero railroad program. The result is a pathbreaking examination that deepens our understanding of Mexican American, immigration, and labor histories in the twentieth-century U.S. West.

Read an excerpt about box car housing for the program. 

Read an excerpt about how women in Mexico acted on behalf of their loved ones working temporarily in the United States.

The Portland Black Panthers: Empowering Albina and Remaking a City
By Lucas N. N. Burke and Judson L. Jeffries
V Ethel Willis White Books

October 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party’s founding. Combining histories of the city and its African American community with interviews with former Portland Panthers and other key players, this long-overdue account adds complexity to our understanding of the protracted civil rights movement throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Read an excerpt

Japanese Prostitutes in the North American West, 1887-1920
By Kazuhiro Oharazeki
Emil and Kathleen Sick Series in Western History and Biography

A compelling study of a previously overlooked vice industry explores the larger structural forces that led to the growth of prostitution in Japan, the Pacific region, and the North American West at the turn of the twentieth century.

Counterpunch: The Cultural Battles over Heavyweight Prizefighting in the American West
By Meg Frisbee

A fascinating look at early American boxing, Counterpunch examines how the sport’s meteoric rise in popularity in the West ran concurrently with a growing backlash among Progressive Era social reformers who saw boxing as barbaric. It provides an entertaining way to understand both the growth of the American West and the history of this popular and controversial sport.

New from Indigenous Confluences

Native Students at Work: American Indian Labor and Sherman Institute’s Outing Program, 1900-1945
By Kevin Whalen
Foreword by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is chairing a session on Histories of Indigenous Education including panelist Kevin Whalen on Sunday, October 23 (full details on page 35 of the conference program).

Native Students at Work tells the stories of Native people from around the American Southwest who participated in labor programs at Sherman Institute, a federal Indian boarding school in Riverside, California.

California through Native Eyes: Reclaiming History
By William J. Bauer Jr.

Using oral histories of Concow, Pomo, and Paiute workers, taken as part of a New Deal federal works project, Bauer reveals how Native peoples have experienced and interpreted the history of the land we now call California. 

 

NEW IN PAPERBACK
Education at the Edge of Empire: Negotiating Pueblo Identity in New Mexico’s Indian Boarding Schools
By John R. Gram
Foreword by Ted Jojola

A groundbreaking examination that contributes to Native American, Western, and education histories, as well as to borderland and Southwest studies.

“[A]ccessible and interesting. . . . Education at the Edge of Empire is a wonderful addition to the literature of off-reservation boarding schools.”—Andrae Marak, Journal of American History

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