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56th Annual Northern Plains History Conference begins Sept. 23

| Denise Olson

Photo caption: The 56th Annual Northern Great Plains History Conference will take place Sept. 23-25 at the Lismore Hotel in Eau Claire.

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host the 56th Annual Northern Great Plains History Conference Sept. 23-25 at the Lismore Hotel in Eau Claire.

The annual migrating conference welcomes scholars, public historians, undergraduate and graduate students from the Great Plains of the U.S. and the prairies of Canada to present their research, papers, panels and roundtables, addressing subjects from around the globe and throughout time.

Each year, the Northern Great Plains History Conference (NGPHC) bestows its highest honor, the Larry Rowen Remele Award, to a council member who has made significant contributions to the betterment of the conference. Remele was a longtime editor of the North Dakota History, a regional history journal, and was the council chair at the time of his unexpected death in 1988.

This year’s Remele Award goes for the first time to a Blugold faculty member, Dr. Robert Gough, professor emeritus of history, who was a member of the UW-Eau Claire faculty from 1981-2011.

Robert Gough headshot

Dr. Robert Gough, professor emeritus of history

A prolific scholar and published author, Gough served the NGPHC many times in various roles from conference co-chair, presenter and commentator to UW-Eau Claire council representative, a role through which he worked to expand the geographical reach of the council.  

Citing the NGPHC as his favorite annual conference to attend throughout his career in teaching, Gough expresses the tremendous value of this regional conference along with his gratitude for this recognition by fellow historians.

“The geographical focus of the conference draws attention to an important region of the country, which only recently is starting to get the attention it deserves from historians,” he says. “Unlike neighboring regional conferences, the NGPHC rotates the site of its annual meeting — attending at different locations is itself educational.”

Gough also appreciates the full circle moment that his award signifies. This is the third time that UW-Eau Claire has hosted the conference, the first being in 1986 when the first-ever Remele Award was given.

“When I began participating in the conference in the 1980s, I was inspired by the regular participation of historians who had retired from teaching but were still active researchers, and for the past decade I have tried to follow their example. It is a real honor to be added to the list of Remele Award recipients.”

The Saturday, Sept. 25, sessions of the conference are free and open to the public. There is no cost to attend the keynote address at the Saturday luncheon banquet at the Lismore Hotel. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Timothy Shiell of UW-Stout’s Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation, who will address the concept of writing about race history as a white man, along with several current First Amendment topics in the news.

Event details, registration and meal purchase information for the Saturday luncheon can be found at