Approaches to Recent and Contemporary History Working Group

This working group is for graduate students across disciplines to explore and evaluate methods and theories pertaining to the study of the recent past. Founded by historians in diverse regional subfields who study a wide variety of themes and topics from the 1960s through the present, this group hopes to be an intellectual community for scholars confronting the challenges related to researching the contemporary moment from the historical perspective. The group will be guided by the following questions: How do you periodize the recent past? How do you write a history of the present and the recent past? What unique opportunities and obstacles are posed by studying the recent past? What responsibility do historians have to the living subjects of the histories they write? How can and should historians position themselves to be engaged in current political debates? What does “presentism” mean for a historian working on the recent past? 

To join the list-serv and for more details, e-mail:,, and