“Peace and Friendship: Lessons from the Legacy of Broken Concord,” Fall 2022 Keynote Lecture with Autry Museum President and UCLA Professor Emeritus Stephen Aron

 11/09/2022

Providing a glimpse into his most recent book, Peace and Friendship: An Alternative History of the American West (Oxford University Press, 2022), Stephen Aron, Emeritus Professor of History at UCLA and currently President and CEO of the Autry Museum of the American West, will draw out those 19th-century spaces where comity, rather than conflict, embodied the history of westward expansion. The talk will take place on November 9 at 7pm in the Smith Forum (Reynolds Journalism Institute, Room 200).

Abstract

Drawing on his recently published book (Peace and Friendship: An Alternative History of the American West), Stephen Aron tours American frontiers from the Revolution through the end of the nineteenth century and from the Appalachians to the Pacific to explore times and places where relations between individuals and peoples ran against the bloody currents that have long defined the westward expansion of the United States. The lecture (and the book) instead exposes “an alternative history” in which Missouri figures prominently and in which a variety of arrangements and accommodations contained violence and abetted cross-cultural comity. Aron’s talk examines how more amicable alternatives developed in these places and why they collapsed, the ways in which this alternative history has been forgotten or turned into “wishtories,” and what lessons we might take from the legacy of broken concord.

A specialist in the history of frontiers, borderlands, and the American West, Stephen Aron received his B.A. from Amherst College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from University of California-Berkeley. He joined the faculty at UCLA, where he is still Emeritus Professor of History, in 1996 and currently serves as President and CEO of the Autry Museum of the American West. He’s the author of How the West Was Lost: The Transformation of Kentucky from Daniel Boone to Henry Clary (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996); American Confluence: The Missouri Frontier from Borderland to Border State (Indiana University Press, 2006); The American West: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2015); and Peace and Friendship: An Alternative History of the American West (Oxford University Press, 2022), and he has published scholarship in major journals including Journal of the Early Republic, Journal of the West, Western Historical Quarterly, and the OAH Magazine of History.