CWS’ 54th Annual Dakota Conference to Focus on Electronic Communication

By Jill Wilson | April 19, 2022
54th Dakota Conference Radio

The Center for Western Studies (CWS) is excited to invite the public to the 54th Annual Dakota Conference on Thursday, April 28, and Friday, April 29, in the CWS Fantle Building on Augustana University’s campus. 

Held every April, the Dakota Conference examines issues of contemporary significance to the Northern Plains region in their historical and cultural contexts. The topic for the 2022 conference is entitled, “Radio Comes to the Northern Plains: From Wireless to Wi-Fi (1922-2022).”

This year’s conference includes presentations about radio and other forms of electronic communication from the 1920s to the present day as we consider how wireless technology changed, and continues to impact, the lives of residents of the Northern Plains.

“The impact of radio on the plains was remarkable and presaged the coming of other means of wireless communication, such as Wi-Fi,” said CWS Executive Director Dr. Harry Thompson.

Nearly 60 presenters from South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Oklahoma and Ohio will attend the Dakota Conference — the largest annual humanities and public affairs conference specifically about the region surrounding Augustana University. 

Augustana University President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin will welcome attendees at the opening luncheon on Thursday. The rest of the conference includes:

  • Presentations by Augustana students based on their internships at CWS;
  • A presentation on the radio program "Poetry from Studio 47" by Augustana Writer-in-Residence Dr. Patrick Hicks and Dean of the School of Music Dr. Peter Folliard;
  • A discussion on the new photo exhibit in the Fantle Building documenting the centennial of the Augustana Choir;
  • Presentations by Cathy Wurzer of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and Cara Hetland of South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB);
  • And, presentations about legendary South Dakota Broadcaster Verl Thomson.

In addition to nine sessions about radio, the Dakota Conference will include sessions on Native Americans, Great Plains history, as well as immigration and borders. Two panels will also explore topics covered in new books about the region: Grasslands Grown and Heartland River.
If you are interested in attending the 54th Annual Dakota Conference, visit to register.
About the Dakota Conference

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.

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

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