48th Annual Dakota Conference

Soldiers of the 147th Field Artillery board a train in Aberdeen, South Dakota, on their way to California for training, 1940

Soldiers of the 147th Field Artillery board a train in Aberdeen, South Dakota, on their way to California for training, 1940.

Held every April, the Dakota Conference on History, Literature, Art and Archeology examines issues of contemporary significance to the Northern Plains in their historical and cultural contexts. Recent topics of interest have included western highways, regional identity, World War I, Wounded Knee 1973, and Spanish exploration of and Hispanic/Latino immigration to the region.

48th Annual Dakota Conference


The conference will be held April 22-23, 2016, in the CWS Fantle Building on the Augustana campus.

Conference Theme: In observance of the 75th anniversary (1941-2016) of America's entrance into World War II, the Center for Western Studies seeks papers and panels that will examine the impact of the war, in all of its manifestations, on the Northern Plains region, specifically South Dakota and the contiguous states of North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. Presentations on the contributions of people from the Northern Plains, including Native Americans, are also encouraged.

R. Douglas Hurt, author of The Great Plains during World War II and Professor and Head of the Department of History at Purdue University, will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Hurt is also the author of The Big Empty: The Great Plains in the Twentieth Century.

In conjunction with this conference, the Center for Western Studies has also commissioned South Dakota State University Emeritus Professor of History John E. Miller to conduct interviews with war veterans. The interviews and associated materials—letters, photos, etc.—will be deposited in the CWS archives, and Dr. Miller will present his research results at the conference.

Submission RequirementsOn-line submission forms are available. Presenters can also send a one-page paper or session proposal with title, brief summary, and biographical sketch, along with presenter name, address, phone number, and e-mail address via e-mail, or mail to:

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

Proposals (not completed papers) are due on or before Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. Please indicate whether you would be willing to serve as a session chair.

Conference Schedule: The conference schedule will be available after March 18, 2016.

Registration Fee:

By April 8:  Registration is $50 ($45 for presenters) for the two-day event. Separate Meal Package (including Friday lunch and dinner and Saturday lunch) is $45.
After April 8:  Registration will be $55 ($50 for presenters) and the Meal Package will be $50.
Registration is free for full-time undergraduate students of any college or university and faculty and staff of Augustana University. For lodging information, visit www.augie.edu/travel-lodging.

Registration Form: Registration is not open at this time.

Autograph Party: The Northern Plains Autograph Party will be held on Saturday, April 23, in conjunction with the conference. Authors of recent books about the Northern Plains may apply for invitation to the autograph party by contacting Executive Director Harry Thompson by February 12, 2016.

Cash Awards: Awards in academic, non-academic, student, and women’s history categories are available.

Continuing Education Credit: Available through Augustana University. Contact Harry Thompson for details.National Endowment for the Humanities Logo

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