"There is no period so remote as the recent past."
–Alan Bennett, The History Boys (2004)




This conference aims to make sense of the twenty-first century, contribute to scholarship about it, affect how it’s taught, and historicize events over its first two decades. Attendance is open to teachers, academics, school administrators, and policy makers.

Marked by terrorism and forever wars, extreme politics and extreme weather, weaponized misinformation, economic crises and income disparity, global pandemics, new frontiers in civil rights struggles, and the first major European war in nearly 80 years, the early twenty-first century rates as epochal.

Teachers at all levels have become first responders for helping students make sense of the crises shaping their lives. Practitioners of history find themselves called upon both to explain the larger meaning of events and respond to critics accusing them of presentism, bias, and political correctness. The discipline of history is simultaneously enjoying a popular renaissance and facing a crisis of confidence. This conference seeks to clarify how historical methodology can help students, teachers, and society at large find meaning in and perspective on the recent past.



Registration is limited to 120 attendees. The registration fee is $75 and includes a light breakfast on both days, lunch on the 7th, and after-session refreshments on the 7th. Participants may attend all sessions as well as Q and A opportunities with panelists and keynote speakers. Avon Old Farms School has arranged for reduced rates at nearby hotels should participants require lodging.


Teaching the Twenty-First Century Registration



Keynote Speakers


Richard White

Richard White, historian of the American West, capitalism, the Gilded Age, and Native Americans, White is the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History, Emeritus, at Stanford University. He is a MacArthur Fellow, winner of the Mellon Distinguished Professor Award, and author of nine books.


Ramita Navai

Ramita Navai is an Emmy-Winning documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on PBS’s Frontline and Britain’s Channel 4. Navai has reported on the Syrian civil war, “ISIS and the Battle for Iraq,” Afghan women under the Taliban, and a rape crisis in India. She has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the British Journalism Award for Foreign Affairs as well as other honors. Navai is the author of City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death, and the Search for Truth in Tehran (2015).

Conference Schedule


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