CANCELED: 52nd Annual Dakota Conference

Passengers and Ford sedan, ca. 1920s. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Stepping out on the town in a new Ford sedan. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Due to concerns related to the potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), this event is canceled.

Held every April, the Dakota Conference examines issues of contemporary significance to the Northern Plains region in their historical and cultural contexts. Religion and spirituality, geography and identity, the impact of global conflict, Hispanic/Latino influence, and the 1973 Wounded Knee Occupation have been examined in recent years.

52nd Annual Dakota Conference

the roaring twenties... again? (1920-2020)

The conference was scheduled to be held April 24-25, 2020, in the CWS Fantle Building on the Augustana University campus.

Conference Theme: This year's Dakota Conference was to commemorate the centennial of the start of the 1920s, drawing connections between that decade and the one starting in 2020.

Although beginning with an economic downturn, the Twenties ushered in a period of technological innovation (autos, electric lights, cinema, phonographs, telephones), Women's Suffrage, popularization of sports, Prohibition, political corruption, social scandal, organized crime, nativism, reemergence of the KKK, urban/rural divide, science vs. fundamentalism, exploitation of the West by mining companies, and stock market highs and lows—ending in the Crash of 1929, followed by the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.

The 2020s are shaping up to be a time of tweets, cyber-warfare, artificial intelligence, gun terrorism, middle-class financial squeeze, lawlessness, incivility, racism, pollution—and hope?

The year 2020 is also the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth, Massachusetts, marking the start of the Great Migration. Concerns about immigration during the 1920s mirror those of today. The passage of the Johnson-Reed Act and other laws in the 1920s reduced immigration by 90%. Will America finally have a comprehensive immigration policy in the 2020s?

Paper and session proposals on these and other topics related to the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana were welcomed.

Conference Schedule: The conference program is now available online.

Registration: Due to concerns related to the potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), this event is canceled.

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.

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