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SASA 2022 Reading Groups Supported by Grants

Save Ancient Studies Alliance (SASA) is delighted to announce that we have received two grants to support our free online Text-in-Translation Reading Groups program for January 2022 and Summer of 2022. Our January Reading Groups are funded in part by an $800 grant from the Society for Classical Studies as part of their outreach grant program, Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities. Our Summer Reading Groups will be supported in full by a $10,000 grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. These grants will support a full slate of exciting Reading Groups, as we seek to attract excellent young scholars to lead the discussion groups and to expand to new topics and a variety of areas of the Ancient World, and to provide groups in multiple languages.

The grant provided by SCS will fund five reading groups starting in January 2022, allowing for close-reading work led by a subject expert. Our reading groups provide a meaningful and accessible way of engaging with ancient texts, irrespective of institutional access. These reading groups take a specific culture or theme within ancient studies and gather in online group discussions to tackle these themes. The groups are diverse in origin, background, age, and education levels. Working together, the groups will be led by a subject expert - the Reading Group Leader - to explore broad-ranging ideas or intricate details and work through these ancient texts to elevate their understanding of the rich themes that run throughout.

Our goals and ethos align well with those of the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, which promotes a studia humanitatis that is available to all in a world where deeper educational material is often inaccessible. Likewise, our work incorporates a broad spectrum of topics from within history, archaeology, literature, language, and arts, as we aim to make all aspects of the past, whether material or cultural, accessible to a new generation and enable them to engage in further study of our rich human past.

Free Online Text-in-Translation Reading Groups

The ancient world has a wealth of textual material that allows us to understand and appreciate the minds, thoughts, and motives of the past and present, as their influence echoes throughout time. However, access to these texts is increasingly limited as universities have begun to shutter their ancient studies departments. In response to this, SASA is providing free access to introductory engagement with ancient texts through our Online Reading Groups. At these groups, participants are led by the Group Leader in a discussion of ancient texts that they have read in translation into modern languages. This relaxed, warm, informal educational context empowers students and enthusiasts by providing an accessible entryway for them to study these texts, irrespective of financial, geographical, or educational access that they may otherwise lack. Our Reading Groups create small, collaborative communities that furnish opportunities for intellectual growth for any participant, from the enthusiast to the high schooler, to the budding undergraduate scholar, to the graduate student in a related field.

Our reading groups have been attended by over 250 participants in the past two summers and January. They have been incredibly well-received, as 100% of survey respondents said they would recommend the group to a friend, with an overall 4.7/5 rating for our groups. This educational model allows for informal discussion of historic texts while approaching the content and themes in the wider context of the modern world, assessing contemporary issues with the help of themes within the text. The informal learning model fosters an atmosphere of creativity, collaboration, and innovation, and ultimately improves engagement - an essential factor as we work to counter the downward spiral of disengagement in ancient studies.

The SCS funding will go towards funding staff working on the program, including the program coordinator and assistant, as well as the group leaders - PhD students and early career scholars that we will recruit for their expertise and leadership. The funds will also cover overhead and advertising costs to ensure it attracts participants from our primary target audience.

These reading groups are integral to the work that SASA does and help us meet our objective of inspiring interest in the Ancient World while broadening the community of scholars. At heart, SASA aims to proliferate connections to the richness of deep human history and culture amongst all people, and we are proud that the Society of Classical Studies is supporting us in this cause.

For this January, SASA seeks five (5) Ancient Studies PhD Students or Early Career Scholars for the paid role of Reading Group Leader for our January 2022 Mini-Reading Groups. The position, formally known as a “SASA Educational Ambassador,” is to lead a weekly discussion group of 3 weekly hour-long sessions in January 2022 on an ancient topic of the Group Leader’s choice. Compensation for each Reading Group is in the sum of $160, funded through a grant from the Society for Classical Studies through their program, Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities. Please see this Job Description for more information and for details on how to apply.

Check out the schedules of the January Reading Groups and of the Summer 2022 Reading Groups this spring.


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