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Advocacy for Ancient Studies through Journalism

Updated: May 26

Save Ancient Studies Alliance’s new project to advocate for Ancient Studies departments in jeopardy.

As you may know, numerous Ancient Studies departments in universities across the globe are threatened with downsizing or have already shut their doors for good. For example, Howard University and Worcester University have recently terminated certain Ancient Studies departments, while others such as the renowned Archaeology program of the University of Sheffield are currently embattled.


The first newspaper – Acta Diurna. Source: Wikimedia Common

In response to this recent trend in closures, Save Ancient Studies Alliance (SASA) is starting a new journalistic project to investigate and report on these departments, shining a light on their histories, staff, and graduates, while reporting on the university funding difficulties and shifting priorities that are often involved. We fully understand that all of these issues have multiple aspects to them, and therefore the goal of this project is to report accurately on the situations from all sides. By developing an accurate, unbiased portrayal of specific cases, SASA aims to bring attention to the factors that lead to pressure on Ancient Studies departments, in the hopes of enabling solutions via compromise. SASA will draw on our collaborations with other Ancient Studies organizations, including the Society for Classical Studies and the Society of Biblical Literature, throughout this project.


This project will work in conjunction with SASA’s Research Program to study the downward trend in Ancient Studies. Since there seem to be overarching themes occurring among universities struggling to keep their Ancient Studies departments open, this project will approach the overall issue through in-depth case studies as events are unfolding. At the same time, while discovering and educating the public on the roots of these issues, SASA also plans to bring attention to those affected, including the administrators, alumni, professors, and of course, Ancient Studies students. These unfortunate situations affect real lives, and many dedicated individuals suffer from uncertainty as they pursue their goals of researching and educating others about the ancient world. Together, we look toward solutions, in order to retain and reinvigorate the project that is Ancient Studies - the humanist search for self-understanding of contemporary cultures worldwide through investigation of the myriad forms of past societies.


Over the coming months, SASA will dig deeper into the specifics of schools and departments, working to publish articles in appropriate forums. If you are interested in helping with this project or know about departments that are under threat, please reach out to us at daviddanzig@saveancientstudies.org.

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