World War II and the West It Wrought

Wed May 3rd 2017, 7:00pm - Fri May 5th 2017, 1:30pm
Event Sponsor
Bill Lane Center for the American West
John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Building
Stanford University
366 Galvez St
Admission Information

Open with Free Registration

The year 2016 will mark the 75th anniversary of America’s entry into World War II. Accordingly, Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West is hosting a two-day scholarly conference, “World War II and the West it Wrought.”

Few episodes in United States history were more transformative than World War II, and in no region did it bring greater change than in the West. The war sparked a massive westward movement, ignited a quarter century economic boom that redefined the West as the nation’s most economically dynamic region, and prompted increased government spending for higher education and infrastructure. Amidst widely shared prosperity, westerners also made significant strides toward greater racial and gender equality in the post-war decades, even as they struggled to come to grips with the environmental consequences of their region’s phenomenal development.

Increasingly, scholars are asking in what ways the war and immediate post-war years – in the West and in the nation at large – can be understood as a platform upon which future generations can continue to build or as an exceptional interregnum between Gilded Ages. The 75th anniversary of America’s entry into World War II provides an excellent occasion to reflect upon this dramatic historical moment and especially the newly energized West that the war did so much to shape.

Timothy Egan, The New York Times columnist and author, will open our conference with an evening keynote address on May 3.


Wednesday, May 3

Keynote Lecture, 7-8 pm

Timothy Egan
Location: Hewlett Teaching Center, Room 200

Thursday, May 4

Panel 1, 9:30-10:30 am

Enlisting the Laboratories: Science, Security, and the Transformation of the High-Tech West

Daniel J. Kevles Stanley Woodward Professor of History, Yale University

Respondent: Cathryn Carson Associate Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley

Panel 2, 10:45-11:45 am

The Business of the Border: The Economic Transformation of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands During World War II

Geraldo L. Cadava Associate Professor of History and Latino Studies, Northwestern University

Respondent: Ana Raquel Minian Assistant Professor of History and of Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University

Panel 3, 1-2pm

World War II, the Cold War, and Knowledge Economies of the Pacific Coast

Gavin Wright William Robertson Coe Professor of American Economic History, Stanford University

Respondent: Daniel Sargent Associate Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley

Panel 4, 2:15-3:15 pm

Executive Domain: Military Land Withdrawals in the Wartime West

Jared Farmer Associate Professor of History, Stony Brook University

Respondent: Louis Warren Professor of History, University of California, Davis

Panel 5, 3:30-4:30 pm

Paths Not Taken: State-Supported Child Care in California During and After World War II

Rebecca Jo Plant Associate Professor of History, University of California, San Diego

Respondent: Sandra Eder Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley

Dinner Keynote, 6-8:30pm — by invitation only

Summoning Pearl Harbor

Alexander Nemerov Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities, Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University

Friday, May 5

Panel 6, 9-10 am

How the Pacific World Became West

Mary L. Dudziak Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law

Respondent: Rebecca Herman Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley

Panel 7, 10:15-11:15 am

Parables from the Forced Relocations of Native Americans and Japanese-Americans: How to Recognize the Complexity of Western Race Relations without Losing Your Audience

Patricia Limerick Faculty Director of the Center of the American West, University of Colorado, Boulder

Respondent: Christian Paiz Assistant Professor in Comparative Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Panel 8, 11:15-12:15pm

World War II and the Reinvention of Government’s Role in the West: Security, Identity, Diversity, Rights—and the Birth of the Red-Blue Divide

Bruce Cain Spence and Cleone Eccles Family Director, Bill Lane Center for the American West Charles Louis Ducommon Professor in Humanities and Sciences Professor of Political Science, Stanford University

Matthew Dallek Associate Professor, George Washington University, Graduate School of Political Management

Respondent: Jennifer Burns Associate Professor of History, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Lunch Plenary, 12:15-1:30pm

Richard White Professor of American History, Margaret Byrne Professor of American History, Stanford University