The WAWH is coming to Denver! (Or, let’s see if we can advertise this conference for less than $5 million.)



The Western Association of Women Historians is coming to Denver in just a few short weeks, May 12-14.  We’ve got a fantastic program with a LOT of star power–if you’re in the area, stop by for just a day, or stay for the whole conference!  If you’re flying in from out of state, you can take advantage of the brand-spankin’-new train from Denver International Airport to Union Station in Denver*, which is just one mile from our conference hotel (and a free Mall Ride shuttle bus away.)

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Thursday (May 12) night’s Strawberries and Champagne Book Launch, with brief readings from the following four wonderful new books, all published in the past year by WAWH members: Catherine A. Jones, Intimate Reconstructions: Children in Postemancipation Virginia; Jessica Millward, Finding Charity’s Folk: Enslaved and Free Black Women in Maryland; Sharon Romeo, Gender and the Jubilee: Black Freedom and the Reconstruction of Citizenship in Civil War Missouri; and Terri Snyder, The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America.
  • The Keynote Address at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 13 will be delivered by renowned historian of the U.S. West, Patricia Limerick. The title alone—“Rattling the Conventional Wisdom of the Frontier and Settler Colonialism: How Margaret Carrington, Mary Roberts Coolidge, Sylvia Van Kirk, and Peggy Pascoe All Came to My Aid (Professionally and Personally)”—suggests that we are in for a real treat. The talk will mobilize two case studies that demonstrate how attention to white women’s history unsettles the conventional thinking of both old-style frontier history and new-style settler colonialism history. The focus will be on two historical figures: Margaret Irving Carrington, author of Absaraka: The Home of the Crows, Being the Experience of an Officer’s Wife on the Plains (1868), an extraordinary book exploring the dynamics and depths of the Indian wars, and Mary Roberts Coolidge, a sociologist at Mills College who published an equally extraordinary book book called Chinese Immigration in 1909. In the same spirit, Limerick will then shift toward expressing her appreciation for and indebtedness to two historians writing in recent times—scholars she credits with alerting her to “the crucial and complicated importance of women’s history to any understanding of the Western American past”: Sylvia Van Kirk, author of Many Tender Ties: Women in the Fur Trade Society, 1670-1870 (1980), and Peggy Pascoe, author of Relations of Rescue: The Search for Female Moral Authority in the American West, 1874-1930 (1990) and What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (2009).
  • On Friday over lunch we’ll celebrate another newly published work, Mary Pickford: Hollywood and the New Woman by Kathy Feeley.  She will talk about “Watching Mary Pickford: Gender and Class in Early Hollywood” and screen film excerpts.
  • Friday afternoon, your very own Historiann will be on the Presidential Roundtable, “Fresh Mobs of Scribbling Women: Writing and Publishing for a Crossover Audience,” along with my Twitter and blog friends Theresa Kaminski and Megan Kate Nelson.  Even more glamorous than us scribblers are Associate Editor Leah Stecher of Basic Books and Rebecca Onion of Slate Magazine.

Join us if you dare!  Tell them Historiann sent you, and be sure to say “howdy” after you hitch your wagon.

wtf*I’ll buy you a drink if you can figure out why the University of Colorado paid $5 million for “branding rights” on this train.  It goes nowhere near Boulder, and only stops somewhat close to the University of Colorado-Denver.  WTF?  Worth it, or should Bruce Benson have wrapped his blunts in $5 million Benjamins and smoked them instead?

Pro Tip:  $5 million should buy you out of having to write b!tchy letters complaining every time local media forget–or refuse–to name-check your boondoggle–shouldn’t it?  (Or maybe you’re just not clear on what you’ve bought?)

8 thoughts on “The WAWH is coming to Denver! (Or, let’s see if we can advertise this conference for less than $5 million.)

  1. In what way is “interest earned from University investments” or presidential “discretionary funds” not “public money,” if the university is a public entity? Are Harvard endowment off-scourings not “private money” by the same reasoning? And does this create a definitional black hole into which the ability to classify anything as anything disappears? In exchange for federal funding, university presidents should be required to teach three general educatuib courses a semester in the closest thing there is to their discipline. That would keep them somewhat off of the branding train. Next thing he’ll try to co-brand the California Zephyr.

    This sounds like a great conference, though, which is the major point of this post. Will regret being almost three hundred miles farther east of it than I already am, although not regret that my grades will be in by that time. Maybe live-blog the Presidential R-T? Will be thinking about it, anyway.


  2. For a long time the first thing you saw at our local airport, 20 minutes from the U of State, were jetways plastered with ads for State State U, 200 miles away with its own airport. Always mystified by that: spite? stupidity? diabolically clever marketing?


    • Mostly stupidity, I would think, but what the hell: I’m not a professor of Marketing, where they advise people to spend money recklessly without any clear “metric” for measuring if it worked or not.

      (Nice racket, I suppose.)


  3. Sorry about the presidential boondoggle, and that I won’t be at (or anywhere near this conference), but looking forward to any and all reports (also, you just expanded my summer reading list, as well as reminding me of several things that are already on it; basically, I want to read all the new books, and several of the older ones as well.


  4. I probably should have said “off-reckonings” for the Harvard funds, not off-scourings. But Colorado is the Centennial State, and I figure that its citizen-citizens have absorbed more than enough small-r republican consciousness in a century and a half that they know what a university is, where THEIR university is, why they should at least consider it for meeting their educratical needs, &c. &c. Having an airport link train plastered with the kind of smarmy self-congratulatory “content”–some of it in blaring video form– with which college advertisements weigh down the _Chronicle of Higher Education_ 52 weeks a year just figures to make Denverites’ jet lag last longer, and come closer to home (as in pertaining to trips from as nearby as Omaha, Casper, Santa Fe, Ogden, Boise, &c. &c). The Benson point about allowing the U. to keep operating “as a business” just invites derision. Not that he’d get the derisive intent.


  5. I think you get the advertising thing half right — $5 million seems like an absurd expenditure for the state’s flagship institution to have to spend on “branding.” Is there anyone in Colorado unaware of the university’s presence for whom the train advertising would both illuminate them and then somehow benefit the university? BUT, if you’re going to advertise as a statewide university, surely the last place you need to do it is in the environs of the university itself, right? It seems logical to me to advertise in the periphery rather than the center. I’m a historian and not a marketing guy, so take it with a grain of alt, but still: The expense seems absurd, the location of the advertising doesn’t, at least to me.


    • I see your point maybe if they were advertising Colorado Mesa, a 4-hour drive to the West, but the A-train stops about half a mile from the CU-Denver campus, and is only about 25 miles from CU Boulder. So the proximity is just a little off, either way you want to argue it (that is, it doesn’t stop on a CU campus, but neither does it advertise a truly remote university from metro Denver.)

      I still say it’s STOOPID. But then, these are the kinds of decisions you get when you permit your uni to be run by a failed oilman and failed politician who wants to run it “like a business.” You get idiotic business “logic” like this!


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