Thompson, Harry F. 1953–

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Thompson, Harry F. 1953–

(Harry Floyd Thompson)


Born March 3, 1953, in Albany, NY. Ethnicity: ‘European.’ Education: Houghton College, B.A., 1975; Baylor University, M.A., 1977; Colgate University, M.A.T., 1979; University of Rochester, M.A., 1981; University of South Dakota, Ph.D., 2000.


Home—Sioux Falls, SD. Office—Center for Western Studies, Augustana College, 2001 S. Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57197. E-mail—[email protected].


Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD, director of research collections and publications, 1984—, and instructor, 1984-87; State of South Dakota, member of board of trustees, 1989-2004; City of Sioux Falls, member of preservation board, 2000-06. Also instructor at University of Rochester, 1980-81, and Winthrop College, 1981-82.


American Studies Association, Western Literature Association, South Dakota State Historical Society (member of board of trustees, 1989-2004).


Merit Award, American Association for State and Local History, 2006, for A New South Dakota History.


Guide to the Archives of the South Dakota Conference of the United Church of Christ, Center for Western Studies, Augustana College (Sioux Falls, SD), 1986.

(Editor, with Arthur R. Huseboe and Sandra Olsen Looney) A Common Land, a Diverse People: Ethnic Identity on the Prairie Plains, Nordland Heritage Foundation (Sioux Falls, SD), 1987.

(Editor) A New South Dakota History, Center for Western Studies, Augustana College (Sioux Falls, SD), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, including North Dakota History, South Dakota History, and Western American Literature. Contributor to Impressions of Tribal Life, Eastman Kodak, (Rochester, NY), 2007.


Harry F. Thompson told CA: ‘My research and writing underwent a major change as a result of completing my Ph.D. in English at the University of South Dakota. There I was introduced to the work of French post-structuralist thinkers, especially Michel Foucault. In applying their critique of western thought, specifically historiography, to late twentieth-century British writers in my dissertation, ‘Histories of Difference: Foucault and the Late Twentieth-Century British Novel,’ I argued for the novel as an equally valid approach to understanding the past."

Thompson then added: ‘Among my favorite books is Waterland, by Graham Swift, because it demonstrates, in an engaging yet philosophically aware manner, the complexity of telling any story, especially history. Also favorites, for much the same reason, are The Birthday Boys, by Beryl Bainbridge, and Flaubert's Parrot, by Julian Barnes. These, especially, show that the closer we attempt to bring people-in-history to us, the farther we stray from any satisfactory familiarity with them. They retreat from us, even as we try to approach them through the written word. Language is, ultimately, inadequate to describe the past."

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Thompson, Harry F. 1953–

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