Fractured Fronts: 2021 Symposium

Oct. 29-30, 2021
Fractured Fronts - 2021 Symposium

As the Great War “ended,” many questions confronted the global community that remain just as pressing today as they did one hundred years ago. How does war impact how we understand ourselves and our place in the world? What does it mean to “come home” when the places and people you called home have changed irrevocably? How does raising such ideas help us better comprehend the period today? Using historic and contemporary lenses, join us for an illuminating exploration of these questions and a collective conversation on war, identity and the enduring impact of World War I.


Watch the Presentations from Fractured Fronts on YouTube




War Remains | Friday, Oct. 29 – Reception Keynote (recorded)

Dan Carlin is an award-winning podcaster and veteran journalist. Once a radio host, he took his show to the internet and now hosts the independent podcasts Hardcore History, Hardcore History: Addendum and Common Sense. Preceding his longform podcasting, Mr. Carlin was a reporter and columnist in Los Angeles, covering major local events. His most recent endeavor took his passion for history into a collaboration on an immersive VR experience transporting participants to the Western Front of WWI entitled War Remains, viewable at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.


The Changing Front of Faith | Friday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m. – Noon CT

Patricia Cecil is the Specialist Curator for Faith, Religion, and WWI at the National WWI Museum and Memorial, in which she promotes a nuanced interpretation of the critical roles of faith, spirituality, and religion in the Great War. She received her M.A. in Indigenous Studies and Museum Studies from the University of Kansas. Her past scholarly research and curatorial work has focused on Indigenous history and religious studies and published several pieces including within the journal Museums and Social Issues.


The Rise of Sports and Service Organizations | Friday, Oct. 29, 1 – 2 p.m. CT

Clive Harris is a historian who served with the Royal Corps of Signals and was staff at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He is a member of the British Commission for Military History, a historian for Charlton Athletic Football Club and an advisor for the BBC. The Co-Director of BattleHonours Battlefield Tours, he is an expert on experiential teaching on the battlefields of Europe and the Middle East. He has written several books, including “The Greater Game – Sporting Icons who Fell in the Great War.”


The Changing Character of War | Friday, Oct. 29, 8:40 – 9:40 a.m. CT

Dr. Robert Johnson is the Director of the Changing Character of War Centre at Oxford University, among other notable appointments. A veteran of military service, he is an advisor to NATO and for armed forces in the U.S., Europe and Australia. A specialist in military strategy and its development, he focuses his historical research on the conduct of wars, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. His most recent book, “Lawrence of Arabia on War, the Campaign in the Desert 1916-18” was recently awarded the British Army Military Book of the Year 2021.


TBA | Saturday, Oct. 30, 11 a.m. – Noon CT

Dr. Jennifer D. Keene is an expert on WWI with a focus in U.S. military involvement. A recent President of the Society for Military History, she serves as the dean of Wilkinson College at Chapman University. Extensively published, Keene’s “The United States and the First World War” was issued a second edition in 2021. A distinguished public history contributor, she also serves as general editor for the global digital humanities project “1914-1918 Online Encyclopedia.” Keene’s upcoming Oxford University Press book will synthesize the American experience in WWI and, in 2022, will have new publication on African American soldiers.


Postwar Technological Challenges for U.S. Air and Naval Power | Saturday, Oct. 30, 10 – 11 a.m. CT

Dr. John T. Kuehn is Professor of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and recently the Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History at the U.S. Naval War College. A veteran naval flight officer, his research focuses on operational military history with a trend towards maritime themes and the development of naval warfare theory. His latest book from Naval Institute Press is "America's First General Staff: A Short History of the Rise and Fall of the General Board of the Navy, 1900-1950".


The Impact of Empires on Africa | Saturday, Oct. 30, 8:50 – 9:50 a.m. CT

Dr. Timothy Parsons is a social historian of Africa in the 20th century who holds a joint appointment as Professor of African History at Washington University in St. Louis. His current research includes the legacies and consequences of empire for East Africa, the West and the wider world. His works include "The British Imperial Century, 1815-1914: A World History Perspective", "The African Rank-and-File: Social Implications of Colonial Military Service in the King’s African Rifles, 1902-1964" and "Race, Resistance and the Boy Scout Movement in British Colonial Africa".


U.S. Foreign Policy and Constitutional Democracy | Friday, Oct. 29, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. CT

Dr. Jay Sexton is the Rich and Nancy Kinder Chair of Constitutional Democracy and Professor of History at the University of Missouri. The former Director of the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University, Dr. Sexton’s research focuses on the United States, and its economic and political relationships with the large empires of the 19th century. His most recent books are "A Nation Forged by Crisis: A New American History" which explores how America’s history has been shaped by international forces and "Crossing Empires: Taking U.S. History into Transimperial Terrain".


German Veterans | Friday, Oct. 29, 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. CT

Dr. Scott Stephenson is a professor of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. His research focuses on the German Empire and its downfall. His book "The Final Battle: Soldiers of the Western Front and the German Revolution of 1918" was awarded the 2010 Tomlinson Prize for Best Book in English on World War I. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served for 25 years as an Army officer.


Battlefield of Remembrance: Art and Literature | Friday, Oct. 29, 10 – 11 a.m. CT

Dr. Steven Trout is a professor of English and chair of the Department of English at the University of Alabama. His interdisciplinary research focuses on the cultural representation of war. He is the author of several books, including "On the Battlefield of Memory: The First World War and American Remembrance, 1919-1941", and the editor or co-editor of multiple volumes, including most recently "Portraits of Remembrance: Painting, Memory and the First World War". Trout was also instrumental in the re-publication of John Lewis Barkley’s memoir "Scarlet Fields".




All who have a general to professional interest in the periods prior to, during and after World War I. We especially recommend this symposium to educators, historians and members of organizations that study these periods.


The 2021 symposium will be hybrid, hosting speakers and guests both in-person and online. In-person sessions will be livestreamed for online attendees, who can also participate in live Q/A.

In-Person Registration

$195 Symposium Registration (Early Bird $150 ended Tuesday, Sept. 28).
$80 Active Volunteer (available until Tuesday, Sept. 28)
$50 Teacher/Student
$45 Reception Only (includes three complimentary drinks) for Friday evening

Online Registration (includes remote access to all sessions and access to Trivia livestream)

$75 online (no expiry)

Please note in-person registration includes light breakfasts, lunches and a spirited reception. In-person registrants have the opportunity, at no added cost, to experience the immersive virtual reality War Remains. As a solitary experience, complimentary reservation times are limited and available for Thursday – Sunday, October 28-31. Registrants can sign up for times on a first-come, first serve basis through the Google Form link in the registration confirmation email. If you do not receive your registration confirmation email within 24 hours of purchase, please contact

In-person symposium attendees who wish to bring guests to the spirited reception and trivia will need to buy additional reception tickets for their guests.

Online symposium attendees will receive exclusive digital content and may compete in the Friday evening trivia reception.

Can’t attend the whole symposium, but still want to see a few sessions? Contact us at or 816.888.8153.


The Museum and Memorial will honor a 50 percent refund on registration fees until Sept. 28. On Sept. 28, no refunds will be granted. Attendees may contact Mark Gunter at 816.888.8103 to request a refund.





10 a.m.-5 p.m.  Museum and Memorial Open
3-5 p.m.  Check-in at Museum and Memorial Guest Services


10 a.m.-5 p.m.  Museum and Memorial Open
7:30-8 a.m.  Shuttle service from the Hampton Inn Hotel to the Museum and Memorial
8-8:30 a.m.  Check-in for attendees at the Museum and Memorial
8:30-8:40 a.m.  Welcome | Matthew Naylor
8:40-9:40 a.m.  Session 1 | Robert Johnson
9:40-10 a.m.  Break | Museum Store Opens
10-11 a.m.  Session 2 | Steven Trout
11 a.m.-noon  Session 3 | Patricia Cecil
Noon-1 p.m.  Lunch at the Museum and Memorial
1-2 p.m.  Session 4 | Clive Harris
2-2:15 p.m.  Break
2:15-3:15 p.m.  Session 5 | Scott Stephenson
3:15-3:30 p.m.  Break
3:30-4:30 p.m.  Session 6 | Jay Sexton
4:30-5:30 p.m.  Shuttle service between the Museum and Memorial and the Hampton Inn Hotel
5:30-7:30 p.m.  Spirited reception
6-7:30 p.m.  Keynote message from Dan Carlin and trivia
7:30-8 p.m.  Shuttle service from the Museum and Memorial to the Hampton Inn Hotel


10 a.m.-5 p.m.  Museum and Memorial Open
7:30-8 a.m.  Shuttle service from the Hampton Inn Hotel to the Museum and Memorial
8-8:45 a.m.  Early Gallery Access | Snapshots
8:30-8:45 a.m.  Curatorial Session | Snapshots
8:50-9:50 a.m.  Session 7 | Timothy Parsons
9:50-10 a.m.  Break | Museum Store Opens
10-11 a.m.  Session 8 | John Kuehn
11 a.m.-noon  Session 9 | Jennifer Keene
Noon-12:15 p.m.  Closing Remarks
12:15-1 p.m.  Lunch at the Museum and Memorial
12:30-1:30 p.m.  Shuttle service from the Museum and Memorial to the Hampton Inn Hotel




Fractured Fronts is an initiative of the National WWI Museum and Memorial. This event is made possible by the generous support of the World War One Historical Association, Bill and Laura Frick and the Charles Bacon Fund.