Pacific Coast Branch 2008

by Peter J. Blodgett

The 101st annual meeting of the Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association, took place at the Hilton Pasadena in Pasadena California, August 7–9, 2008. Anne Hyde (Colorado College) and David Igler (University of California at Irvine) co-chaired the program committee and Cheryl Koos (California State University at Los Angeles) chaired the Nominating Committee. The conference had 256 registered attendees, who participated in 47 different sessions that examined such topics as American foreign relations in the 20th century, economic and cultural interactions around the Pacific Rim, North American borderlands, and expanding cooperation between K–12 teachers and college/university faculty in the teaching of history.

This year’s Pacific Coast Branch meeting benefited from the generous support of the Huntington Library’s Research Division, the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, and the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute for the opening reception at the Huntington Library and the Stanford University Office of the Provost and Department of History for the inaugural Graduate Students Reception. Additional sponsors of the 101st annual meeting were the journal Western Legal History, Information Age Publishing, The Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles (Loyola Marymount University), and the American Institute for History Education. During the conference,Carole Srole (California State University at Los Angeles) spoke to the Western Association of Women Historians luncheon on the topic “Reassessing Respectability: Beauty, Fashion, and Gold Digging in U. S. Offices and Courts at the Turn-of-the-Twentieth Century” while President David Wrobel (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) presented his presidential address, “Global West, American Frontier.” The presidential address will appear in expanded form in the February 2009 issue of the Pacific Historical Review

Minutes of the Meeting of the Council of the Pacific Coast Branch

President David Wrobel called the meeting of the PCB Council to order at 2:10 p.m. in the Pacific Ballroom of the Hilton Pasadena, Pasadena California, on August 7, 2008. In addition to President Wrobel, the following people were in attendance: Executive Director Peter J. Blodgett, Council members Mina Carson, Samuel Truett, Kevin Leonard, Colleen O’Neill, Lisa Cody, Pacific Historical Review Managing Editor David Johnson, Co-editor Carl Abbott, and Associate Editor Susan Wladaver-Morgan, past-President Elizabeth Jameson, incoming President Rachel Fuchs, 2009 President-elect Barbara Molony, Finance Committee member Al Hurtado, and 2008 Program Committee Co-chair David Igler. Councilors not present were Beshara Doumani, Noriko Kawamura, Andrew Wiese and Henry Yu.

In reviewing the local arrangements for the conference, Executive Director Blodgett listed the various events that would take place during the conference including:

  • the opening reception at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
  • the inaugural Latino Scholars Luncheon
  • the inaugural Graduate Students Reception
  • the Western Association of Women Historians Luncheon
  • the Presidential Banquet and Awards Ceremony 

The Council then thanked 2008 Program Committee co-chairs Anne Hyde and David Igler, and the members of the Program Committee for their hard work organizing the sessions.

Executive Director Blodgett followed the discussion of the 2008 program with an interim report on the current financial state of the PCB and the new Finance Committee as approved by the PCB Council via e-mail discussions in advance of the 2008 Council meeting. Al Hurtado will serve as chair of the Finance Committee, with Susan Wladaver-Morgan and David Baird as the other members, while the executive director, the managing editor of the Pacific Historical Review, and the current president of the PCB will serve as ex-officio members.

David A. Johnson, managing editor of the Pacific Historical Review then presented the report of the journal in which he noted that between August 1, 2007, and July 21, 2008, the journal received 65 submissions, accepted 10 for publication, and published 19. Over the year, 152 scholars served as external reviewers for the journal, including two independent scholars and individuals representing 114 institutions in 38 states, 3 Canadian provinces, and Australia, Japan, England, Germany, and Puerto Rico. The journal published 118 book reviews and Johnson observed that the editorial staff feel they have been successful in keeping the number of reviewers broadly distributed across the profession with very few repeaters from prior years. At Johnson’s request, the Council then approved a slate of individuals whom the editors proposed as new PHR editorial board members and expressed its thanks to those departing board members.

In the absence of Nominating Committee chair Cheryl Koos (California State University, Los Angeles), Blodgett announced that 179 members voted in this year’s election, with the following results:

President-elect for 2010: Barbara Molony (Santa Clara University). New members of the PCB Council: Sara Elkind (San Diego State University); David Igler (University of California at Irvine); Louis Warren (University of California at Davis). New members of the PCB Nominating Committee: Sara Pugach (California State University at Los Angeles); Jennifer Fish Kashay (Colorado State University)

The PCB President and Council then expressed the organization’s gratitude to those individuals who, although unsuccessful in the balloting, graciously consented to stand for office. They included Coll Thrush (University of British Columbia), Jose Alamillo (Washington State University), and Mary Ann Irwin (independent scholar) for the PCB Council and Tracie Matysik (University of Texas, Austin) and Robert Senkewicz (Santa Clara University) for the Nominating Committee.

Executive Director Blodgett then announced the winners of the various PCB awards:

  • The Pacific Coast Branch Book Award: Andrew K. Sandoval-Strausz (University of New Mexico) for Hotel: An American History (Yale University Press)

  • The Norris and Carol Hundley Award: James Vernon (University of California, Berkeley) for Hunger: A Modern History (Harvard University Press)

  • The W. Turrentine Jackson (Dissertation) Award: Daniel HoSang (University of Southern California) for “Racial Propositions: Genteel Apartheid in Post-War California” 

Thereafter, PHR managing editor Johnson announced the two awards for articles that appeared in the Pacific Historical Review:

  • The Louis Knott Koontz Memorial Award (chosen by the entire editorial board) to Raymond Rast (California State University at Fullerton) for “The Cultural Politics of Tourism in San Francisco’s Chinatown, 1882–1917,” published in the February 2007 issue.

  • The W. Turrentine Jackson (Article) Prize (chosen by the editors from among articles submitted by graduate students) to Ryan Fischer (University of California, Davis) for “Cattle in Hawai‘i: Biological and Cultural Exchange,” which appeared in the August 2007 issue. 

Executive Director Blodgett then offered preliminary details about the forthcoming meeting in Albuquerque—it will take place between August 6 and 8, 2009 and potential venues under consideration include the Hyatt, the Marriott, the Hotel Elegante, and the Hotel Albuquerque. Incoming President Rachel Fuchs announced her selections for 2009 Program Committee Co-chairs, Louis Warren (University of California, Davis) and Jo Burr Margadant (Santa Clara University) and the conference theme “Creating and Crossing Borders: Conquest, States, Peoples, Families.” Fuchs also described her goal of increasing representation from the membership of the Pacific Coast Branch, especially through the inclusion of more thematic sessions that would include more presenters from a broad array of subject fields.

Turning to old business, Executive Director Blodgett reported on the transition between executive directors following his selection in December 2007 as the successor to Janet Farrell Brodie. On a related topic, Blodgett also reported that Gordon Bakken, working on a pro bono basis for the PCB, is gathering the considerable amounts of data needed to establish the PCB’s 501c(3) tax-exempt status. Finally, the Council discussed the language regarding “no-shows” that should be included in the acceptance letters sent out to all participants whose panels are accepted for the PCB conference, alerting them to the consequences of failing to inform the organization of their inability to participate and to make arrangements for a substitute presenter.

Under the heading of new business, incoming President Rachel Fuchs announced her presidential appointments: Matthew Whittaker (Arizona State University) to the Jackson (Dissertation) Prize Committee, Catherine O’Donnell (Arizona State University) to the Norris and Carol Hundley Award Committee, Sean Quinlan (University of Idaho) to the PCB Book Award Committee, and Mona Siegel (California State University at Sacramento) as chair of the Nominating Committee.

Continuing with new business, the Council expressed its thanks to all outgoing members of the PCB leadership and awards committees, commending them for their service to the organization:

  • PCB President: David Wrobel
  • PCB Councilors:
    • Mina Carson
    • Noriko Kawamura
    • Henry Yu
  • PCB Nominating Committee:
    • Erika Bsumek
    • Cheryl Koos
    • Jared Orsi
  • Hundley Award Committee: Devra Weber
  • Jackson Dissertation Award Committee: Mark Brilliant
  • PCB Book Award Committee: Zephyr Frank 

The Council also commissioned additional changes to the Website and authorized additional funds for Website management. Finally, as its last order of business, the Executive Director proposed and the Council unanimously approved a commendation for Executive Assistant Cynthia Scott, whose dedication, meticulous attention to detail and unfailing commitment to the needs of the Pacific Coast Branch contributed notably to the success of the 2008 annual conference.

No further issues awaiting discussion, President Wrobel entertained a motion for adjournment, which was proposed, seconded and passed by the Council; President Wrobel then declared the Council meeting adjourned at 4:18 PM.

Peter J. Blodgett is the executive director of the Pacific Coast Branch.