Presenters, Authors Sought for 47th Annual Dakota Conference

The Center for Western Studies (CWS) at Augustana College has issued a call for presenters and authors – including students – for the annual Dakota Conference on the Northern Plains, to be held April 24-25, on campus.

Now in its 47th year, the Dakota Conference seeks to examine issues of contemporary significance in their historical and cultural contexts through history, literature, art and archeology. Recent topics of interest have been water use, urbanization, the Black Hills and railroads, Wounded Knee and the Spanish Northern Plains.

The theme for the 2015 Conference is “Where the West Begins? Geography, Identity, and Promise.”

Dr. Harry Thompson, executive director of the Center for Western Studies, said the Conference is seeking papers and panels that seek to answer questions such as:

  • Are the Great Plains where the Midwest ends and the West begins?
  • What geographical and demographic characteristics help us identify the northern region of the Great Plains?
  • In what ways are the Northern Plains changing?
  • What issues confront Native American communities, and how will these communities respond to future challenges?
  • Papers and sessions on all aspects of the Northern Plains are also welcome.


Presenters should send a one-page paper or session proposal with title, brief description, and biographical sketch, along with name, street address, phone number, and e-mail address, to “Dakota Conference,” The Center for Western Studies, Augustana College, 2001 S. Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, S.D., 57197, or submit their entry online. Proposals are due on or before Friday, Feb. 13. 


Student Papers, Awards

Students who present a paper at the Dakota Conference are eligible to receive a $500 award from the Center for Western Studies. The awards are made possible by an endowment established at Augustana by college educators from Powell, Wyoming, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Details about the student awards follow:

  • Competition for the $500 cash award is open to undergraduate students at any college or university who present a paper at the Dakota Conference on the Northern Plains.
  • The paper topic should be of the student’s choosing but in some way must relate to the Northern Plains region of the American West (South Dakota and the surrounding states). A class assignment is acceptable.
  • Presenters should plan to speak for 20-25 minutes and take questions for 5-10 minutes (for a total of 30 minutes).
  • The completed paper (±10 pages) must be submitted to the Center for Western Studies by April 30, 2015.
  • Intention to submit (paper title and contact information) must be received by March 2, 2015, so that the presenter can be scheduled into the program.
  • Papers submitted for this award will be judged by a special panel, which will choose one paper of singular distinction in terms of quality of research and scope of analysis. A second-place award of $250 is also available.
  • The winner will be announced and the award presented as soon after the paper submission deadline as possible. 
  • The student also has the option of requesting that the paper be published in the Papers of the Annual Dakota Conference.

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