2021 SDHC Scholar Applications Being Accepted

Speakers, Humanities Discussion Leaders Featured Online Only in 2021

The South Dakota Humanities Council's mission is to bring humanities programs to all areas of South Dakota. Applications are now open to members of the public who would like to assist in SDHC's outreach efforts by joining our roster of SDHC scholars who provide educational, unique, humanities-rich programs to South Dakotans.

Members of the SDHC Speakers Bureau make themselves available for SDHC-related programming as well as sessions related to their own individual specialties.

2021 Shift to Online Scholar Listings

Like many industries dealing with the coronavirus pandemic continues, SDHC has shifted much of its focus to online programming. As such, 2021 scholars will be listed online and not in the annually printed SDHC Program Catalog. A major factor in the decision was an SDHC survey that found the majority of constituents preferred to select scholars from the online catalog instead of the printed version.

Applications are being accepted now through Nov. 29, 2020 at http://sdhumanities.org/scholar-apply. Vetted scholars will be listed online. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, SDHC's grant-sponsored programs will be virtual-only. A small number of in-person gatherings, which require preapproval, may be supported through application of COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Please contact info@sdhumanities.org with questions.

Public Access

Scholars are paid stipends to speak to groups about topics pertinent to their area of expertise. They can also lead discussions about books from SDHC's lending library, including the annual One Book South Dakota.

Most programs are proposed by a sponsoring organization (typically a nonprofit, although all civic institutions are eligible) through the Speakers Bureau, One Book or Book Club to Go programs. Applicants include libraries, museums, historic sites, historical societies, parks, tribal entities, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, as well as community centers and agencies that are open to the public. Programs must take place within the state.

Application Information: Qualifications, Compensation, More

Applicants are required to submit program information, contact information, and a one- to three-minute video introducing themselves and briefly explaining their proposed presentations. The video will be posted along with the other scholar information. A NEW application is required for consideration as a 2021 scholar.


Scholars must be trained in one of the humanities disciplines, possess an M.A. or Ph.D., or have a career and personal history that show commitment to the humanities (tribal elders, experienced Chautauqua performers and more).

The Speakers Bureau is all-inclusive, and SDHC encourages topics that promote diversity, such as traditional Lakota spirituality. SDHC uses the following humanities definition as a basis for deciding whether applicants' proposed programs apply to the humanities:

"The term 'humanities' includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life."
- From http://www.neh.gov --National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965, as amended

Applicants are not required to be South Dakota residents. However, supported programs must take place in South Dakota.

Scholar Categories

Interested scholars can apply to be reading group discussion leaders, Speakers Bureau presenters, or both.

From analyzing current events to discussing historical time periods or providing writing advice, Speakers Bureau scholars present programs on a variety of humanities topics suitable for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Chautauqua speakers animate history with their costumed impressions of various historical figures, from Native American women in the era of the Wounded Knee Massacre to famous South Dakotans such as Calvin Mellette (the first governor of South Dakota), Amelia Earhart, outlaw Tom O'Day and many more.

For questions about the 2021 application process, call the SDHC office at (605) 688-6113.

Apply Now!

Interested in applying to be a 2021 scholar? Click the link below to find out more information and to access the application, which will be available Oct. 31.