• Testimonials

    The resolute but congenial atmosphere of the WLA has set the tone for my approach to teaching and scholarship, and established my regard for active service to my institution and the profession.
    William V. Lombardi
    Assistant Professor, Missouri Valley College (Grad student rep 2012-2014)


The WLA is interested in exchanging ideas with other organizations. Below is a list of existing affiliations. Generally, this means that WLA members present a panel at the affiliate’s conference and vice versa. Please look for CFPs either here or on our NEWS page. If you are interested in participating in a WLA-panel at another conference, please contact the liaison for that particular conference. You must be a WLA member at the time of the conference to participate in a WLA-sponsored panel.

Modern Language Association (MLA)

As of 2010, the Western Literature Association has affiliate status with the Modern Language Association. What does this mean for WLA? This affiliate status guarantees the WLA to be able to present a panel at each MLA Conference. The first such panel was presented during the 2011 MLA Conference.

If you’d like to participate on a WLA panel at the MLA or if you have any questions about this affiliation, please contact our liaison, Kerry Fine.

American Literature Association (ALA)

The WLA is one of the affiliated organizations in the American Literature Association’s “coalition of societies devoted to the study of American authors.” Since 1989, the ALA has convened on the weekend prior to Memorial Day for its annual conference, with the location alternating between the East Coast in odd-numbered years and the West Coast in even-numbered years. Most of the conference revolves around panel presentations/sessions organized by the various member societies; as an affiliated society, the WLA has the option of presenting two sessions at the western meetings and one session at the eastern meetings.

Calls for proposals are initially made and discussed at the WLA’s business meeting, held each fall at the conclusion of the annual WLA conference. Subsequent calls for proposals are distributed via various online modes of communication, including both the WLA and ALA websites. The WLA’s liaison to the ALA is appointed by the WLA Executive Secretary, and the chief duties of the liaison consist of issuing the calls for proposals, organizing the conference sessions and communicating the final details of them to the organizers of the ALA, and when possible attending the meeting of society liaisons at the ALA conference.

The current WLA liaison is Nicolas Witschi at Western Michigan University.

Association for the Study of Literature & Environment (ASLE)

ASLE was established at the annual WLA conference in 1992, and the two organizations continue to share common membership, with each organization regularly well represented at the other’s conference. In 2011, the two organizations entered affiliate status. The WLA liaison is appointed for a 3-year term.

ASLE conferences are organized every other year (in odd years). The next conference will be held in 2017.

If you have any questions or would like to participate in a WLA-sponsored panel, please contact our liaison to ASLE, Amy Hamilton.

Society for the Study of American Women Writers (SSAWW)

The Society for the Study of American Women Writers was established to promote the study of American women writers through research, teaching, and publication. It is the goal of the Society to strengthen relations among persons and institutions in this country and internationally who are devoted to such studies, and to broaden knowledge among the general public about American women writers. The Society is committed to diversity in the study of American women writers — racial, ethnic, gender, class, sexual orientation, region, and era — as well as of scholars participating in the Society.

We encourage WLA members to attend SSAWW conferences.

In October 2015, thanks to Randi Tanglen’s efforts, the WLA was represented with 2 panels:

Women Writing and Editing the West(ern)

Chair: Melody Graulich, Utah State University

Eric Gardner, Saginaw Valley State University, “Negro Trail Blazers of California: Black Women’s History and the American West”
Melody Graulich, Utah State University, “Writing and Editing the West: Mary Hallock Foote, Richard Gilder, and Century Magazine, 1878-1900”
Cathryn Halverson, University of Copenhagen , “The Atlantic Monthly, Gertrude Stein, and ‘Faraway Women’“
Victoria Lamont, University of Waterloo, “Sherriff Minnie, Queer Crime-Fighter of the 1940s, and the Emergence of the Romance Western”

Cross-Racial Alliances and Native Dispossession in Western Women’s Writing

Chair: Nicole Tonkovich, University of California, San Diego

Caroline M. Woidat, SUNY Geneseo, “Elizabeth Oakes Smith’s The Western Captive and Literature of  the Middle Ground: Tippecanoe and the Schoolcrafts Too”
Jennifer S. Tuttle, University of New England, “Helen Hunt Jackson and Jeanne Carr’s ‘Carmelita’: Promoting Settler Colonialism in California”
Nicole Tonkovich, University of California, San Diego, “Adopting Oregon in the Letters of Narcissa Whitman”


If you have questions about this affiliation, please contact Katy Halverson at clh@hum.ku.dk


SSAWW members, of course, are welcome to attend the WLA Conference. We are hoping to expand this affiliation in ways mutually beneficial to our organizations.

Our WLA liaison is Cathryn Halverson.

  • Western Literature Association (WLA)

    Founded in 1965, the Western Literature Association (WLA) is a non-profit, scholarly association that promotes the study of the diverse literature and cultures of the North American West, past and present.

  • Western American Literature (WAL)

    (The Journal)

    Published by the Western Literature Association, Western American Literature is the leading journal in western American literary studies.