2016 Annual Report


The one-hundred ninth annual meeting of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association took place at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort on the island of Hawai‘i August 4 – 6, 2016. The conference had 189 registered attendees, who participated in fifty-nine different sessions. During the conference, Ruben Flores (University of Kansas) spoke to the Latina/o Scholars Luncheon on the topic, “Backroads Pragmatists: Mexico’s Melting Pot and Civil Rights in the United States,” and Erica Ball (Occidental College) spoke to the Western Association of Women Historians luncheon on the topic, “Roots, History, and the Politics of Popular Culture,” while President George J. Sánchez (University of Southern California) presented his presidential address, “Why Are Multiracial Communities So Dangerous?: Hawaii, Cape Town, South Africa, and Boyle Heights, California.” The presidential address appeared in expanded form in the February 2017 issue of the Pacific Historical Review.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Council of the Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association, Paniolo III Ballroom, Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa, August 4, 2016.

President George J. Sánchez called the meeting of the PCB Council to order at 2:05 p.m. with the following individuals in attendance: Vice President Katherine Morrissey, former presidents David Igler and Carl Abbott, Marc S. Rodriguez representing the Pacific Historical Review, Council members Phoebe S. K. Young, Lorena Oropeza, Matthew Garcia, and Janet Ward, and Executive Director Kevin A. Leonard.  The Council approved the 2015 minutes. Executive Director Leonard provided a preview of the local arrangements for the Waikoloa meeting, and President Sánchez continued with a brief preview of the program for the meeting.

Executive Director Leonard then reported on the current financial state of the PCB. In his report, Executive Director Leonard reported that the Pacific Coast Branch remains in a precarious financial position. In 2015 the Branch continued to rely upon its reserves to cover the costs of its operations. However, the unrestricted reserves have nearly been exhausted. In its discussion of the financial state of the PCB, the Council considered a number of ways in which revenues could be increased and expenditures reduced. Much of this discussion focused on the problem of people who agree to be on the program for the annual meeting but then do not register or show up. Executive Director Leonard reported that the Branch used $2,000 of the donations from past presidents to support conference attendance by ten graduate students.

The discussion of the financial state of the Branch led into Executive Director Leonard’s announcement of his decision to step down upon the completion of his four-year term at the end of 2017. The Council discussed the implications of this transition, and Vice President Morrissey expressed her intent to appoint a search committee shortly after the conclusion of the meeting.

Pacific Historical Review Managing Editor Marc S. Rodriguez presented the report of the journal, in which he noted that between August 1, 2015, and July 31, 2016, the PHR received seventy-seven submissions, accepted thirteen for publication, and published thirteen. During the year, 110 scholars served as external referees for the journal. The journal published 115 book reviews, with 112 reviewers representing 88 different institutions. At Rodriguez’s request, the Council then approved a slate of individuals proposed by the editors as new PHR editorial board members and expressed its thanks to those board members whose terms had concluded.

Executive Director Leonard announced on behalf of Nominations Committee chair Gordon H. Chang (Stanford University) that 129 members voted in this year’s election, with the following results:

  • President-elect for 2017: Mary Elizabeth Berry (University of California, Berkeley)
  • New members of the PCB Council:
    • Chia Yin Hsu (Portland State University)
    • Beverly Lemire (University of Alberta)
    • Tara Travis (Mesa Verde National Park)
  • New members of the PCB Nominations Committee:
    • Anita Casavantes Bradford (University of California, Irvine)
    • Cecilia Tsu (University of California, Davis)

The Council then offered its thanks to all those individuals who generously accepted the invitation of the Nominations Committee to stand for election in this year’s cycle, including Sandra McGee Deutsch (University of Texas-El Paso) and Kerri A. Inglis (University of Hawai‘i, Hilo), who accepted nominations for Council, as well as Thomas (Tim) Borstelmann (University of Nebraska, Lincoln), and Minayo Nasiali (University of Arizona), who stood as candidates for the Nominations Committee.

Executive Director Leonard then announced the winners of PCB awards:

  • The Pacific Coast Branch Book Award: Andrew R. Highsmith, University of California, Irvine, for Demolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan, and the Fate of the American Metropolis (University of Chicago Press)
  • The Norris and Carol Hundley Award: Lorraine K. Bannai, Seattle University, for Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice (University of Washington Press)
  • Honorable mention: Keith David Watenpaugh, University of California, Davis, for Bread From Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (University of California Press, 2015)
  • The W. Turrentine Jackson (Dissertation) Award: Mary Elizabeth Mendoza, “Unnatural Border: Race and Environment at the U.S.-Mexico Divide” (University of California, Davis, 2015)

Thereafter, PHR Managing Editor Rodriguez 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): James D. Drake, “A Divide to Heal the Union: The Creation of the Continental Divide,” (November 2015, Vol. 84, no. 4)
  • The W. Turrentine Jackson (Article) Prize (chosen by the editors from among articles submitted by graduate students): Lawrence H. Kessler, Temple University, for “A Plantation upon a Hill: Or, Sugar without Rum: Hawai‘i’s Missionaries and the Founding of the Sugarcane Plantation System,” (May 2015, Vol. 84, no. 2)

Leonard also presented details about the Presidents Travel Award Fund: ten graduate students received awards of $200 each, and the fund-raising campaign undertaken by President Sánchez generated $2,650 in donations from past presidents.

Executive Director Leonard then offered preliminary details about the 2017 annual conference. The meeting will take place at a venue to be determined in the Los Angeles area. Incoming President Morrissey announced her selection of Stacey Smith (Oregon State University) and Michael Lansing (Augsburg College) as Program Committee Co-chairs, as well as the conference theme, “Seeing History: Traces and Representations of the Past.”

Under the heading of new business, President Sánchez offered the thanks of the PCB Council on behalf of the Pacific Coast Branch to those whose terms of service were concluding with this annual conference, including

  • Former President Carl Abbott
  • Council members Jeff Means, Jeff Sanders, and Phoebe Young
  • Nominations Committee members Gordon Chang and Laura Ishiguro
  • PCB Book Award Committee member Steven Hackel
  • Hundley Award Committee member Eileen Wallis
  • Jackson (Dissertation) Award Committee member Susan Wladaver-Morgan
  • Graduate Student Travel Award Committee member Carl Abbott

No further issues awaiting discussion, President Sánchez declared the Council meeting adjourned at 4:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by
Kevin A. Leonard