Dakota Conference

Policemen in Seattle during the influenza epidemic, December 1918. Courtesy National Archives.

Policemen in Seattle wearing masks made by the Red Cross during the influenza epidemic, December 1918. Courtesy National Archives.

Event Details


Date: April 26 - April 27, 2019

Location: The Center for Western Studies


The 51st annual Dakota Conference on Northern Plains History, Literature, Art and Archaeology, set for April 26-27 at the Center for Western Studies will commemorate the end of the Influenza Pandemic (or Spanish Flu) of 1918-1919 by examining issues, concerns, and problems associated with health care and health policy today and in the past.

The pandemic infected 500 million people and killed more than World War I, as many as 40 million people. The flu was most deadly for people ages 20 to 40, rather than children and the elderly. More than 25% of Americans were infected, and an estimated 675,000 Americans died (statistics from the CDC). Residents of the Northern Plains experience the same health issues as other Americans, but in some instances more acutely because of geographical location. As populations throughout the region continue to shift to cities, adequate health care for rural and small-town communities declines — hospitals and clinics close. Rural by their very nature, reservations experience both the benefits and frustrations of federal health policy. Sessions or panels related to the conference topic are welcome.

Submission Requirements: An online submission form is available. Presenters can also send a one-page paper, session, or panel proposal with title, brief summary, and biographical sketch, along with presenter name, address, phone number, and email address to dakotconference@augie.edu, or mail to:

Dakota Conference
Center for Western Studies
Augustana University
2001 S. Summit Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57197

Proposals (not completed papers) are due on or before Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. Please indicate whether you would be willing to serve as a session chair.

Registration: Registration is not open at this time.

  • Through April 17, registration is $60 ($55 for CWS members).
  • After April 17, registration is $65 ($60 for CWS members).
  • Registration is free for full-time undergraduate students of any college or university and for Augustana University faculty and staff, courtesy Mellon Fund Committee.

Conference Schedule: The conference schedule is not yet available.

Autograph Party: The Northern Plains Autograph Party will be held on Saturday, April 27, in conjunction with the conference. Authors of new books about the Northern Plains may apply for invitation by contacting CWS Executive Director Harry Thompson at harry.thompson@augie.edu by Friday, Feb. 15. Limit of one title per invited author.

Awards: Presenters may submit their papers for cash award consideration in academic, non-academic, student and women’s history categories.

The Dakota Conference on the Northern Plains is a humanities-based public affairs program of the Center for Western Studies that explores topics specific to the region in their historical and cultural contexts. The Center’s Boe Forum on Public Affairs considers national and global issues of concern to the people of the Northern Plains. The CWS Public Affairs Series publishes books examining regional issues.

Lodging: For lodging information, visit www.augie.edu/lodging.

The Dakota Conference is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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