SALT LAKE CITY — The 64th annual Utah State History conference will be held on Sept. 30 at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, and the Utah Division of State History is inviting the public, scholars, students, policymakers, Indian tribes and organizations to submit proposals for papers, sessions, panels, roundtables or multimedia presentations exploring the theme “Rural Utah and Western Issues.”

Although parts of Utah and the American West are highly urbanized — principally a product of arid geography — some of their defining characteristics are open spaces and sparse populations. Outside of its urban corridors, the West is a region of small towns and scattered homes amid a big landscape. Its history is a mosaic of agriculture, ranching, manufacturing, community life and culture. Unfortunately, it is also sometimes ignored in wider histories.

Rural Utahns have grappled with economic development, the dynamics of in-migration, rural gentrification, and the retention of rural culture and identity. Land and resource issues — federal ownership of vast tracts of locally used land, scarcity of water and energy development among them — are also common, as they are in the histories of other states in the West.

The conference seeks to examine the historical dimensions of these issues, highlighting new, revised, or heretofore unknown histories of rural and western life for a 21st century public.

The program committee invites proposals that explore the issues and histories confronting rural Utah and the broader American West. Submissions on other aspects of Utah history will also be considered. Proposals can be submitted through April 25 at heritage.utah.gov/history.

For questions, contact Jedediah Rogers at jedediahrogers@utah.gov or Holly George at hollygeorge@utah.gov.