The 20th century was a period of extremes, of contrasts and contradictions. It witnessed destructive wars, and yet periods of unprecedented peace. Increasing wealth was joined by higher levels of poverty. There was scientific and technological progress, but also inhumanity and repression. The map was one of the century’s principal objects. Thanks to developments in geography education, cheaper and quicker mapmaking processes, and increasing travel and migration, maps became common, trusted and powerful things in western society. Yet maps were not passive or neutral objects. They were agents of change, presenting only versions of reality, not the reality itself. They were capable of informing, but also misleading. They were tools of control and of protest, and even changed the world.
With these advances and the changing role of maps in mind, on Monday 5th December Dr Jessica Reinisch will deliver a keynote lecture addressing ‘What Matters Most about the Twentieth Century?’ as part of a one day CPD course for secondary school teachers. The course, ‘Tracing the Twentieth Century through Maps‘, is hosted by the Historical Association in partnership with the British Library and is designed to aid those teaching 20th century units at GCSE or A-Level, with the day based around the British Library’s forthcoming exhibition Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line.
The course will comprise of keynotes from Jessica Reinisch and Tom Harper, lead curator of the exhibition, followed by a series of workshops to develop subject knowledge and support best practice teaching. These workshops will feature Ben Walsh, associate vice president of the Historical Association, on the Cold War and Alf Wilkinson, educational consultant and textbook author, on the First World War.