Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Save Ancient Studies in America

Save Ancient Studies in America

The Problem

Ancient Studies are diminishing in institutions of higher education in America, in terms of courses available, majors and minors, faculty, and graduate programs. Although the Humanities in general are on the decline in American colleges and universities, Ancient Studies are ahead of this downward trend. Read more.
Universities are cutting course offerings, contracting departments, combining departments, and moving away from supporting research toward only offering the bare minimum of general, introductory courses.


The value of college education in America is changing. The concept of the Liberal Arts education as fundamental to building democratic, worldly America citizens is greatly diminished. In its place has risen a careerist, bottom-line-oriented attitude, in both the student body and their parents. Engaging with the fundamental texts and ideas of the modern, enlightened intellectual enterprise is losing its appeal, as the sciences, technologies, and industries flourish.
To many, learning about Ancient peoples, cultures, and history seems irrelevant today.
And, colleges and universities have re-oriented themselves along capitalist lines. As businesses that provide services to consumers, they tailor their offerings to students' and parents' desires.


In truth, so may Americans ARE interested in the Ancient World! Numerous modes of entertainment connect to the Ancient. People love watching re-enactments of ancient battles on the History Channel. The most popular recent TV show, Game of Thrones, draws on Ancient lore and portrays a world of reimagined Ancient landscapes. Major blockbuster movies watched by millions entice and delight by visualizing Ancient cultures, such as The Mummy, Indiana Jones, Troy, 300, and on and on. Bestselling novels enrapture us with Ancient religion and magic, such as Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.
What seems to have been lost from this national fascination with the Ancient World is that the way we KNOW about the Ancient World is through Ancient Studies!
We, who love Ancient Studies, know its value, but how can we spread this recognition and feeling?

The Solution

SASA aims to solve this problem by uniting Ancient Studies graduate students and early career academics to help create a groundswell of interest in Ancient Studies, particularly in high school and college students.

Realizing that institutional and governmental bodies in America now align their priorities with their constituents, SASA will not confront and lobby these institutions, but rather raise a groundswell of interest in Ancient Studies so that these institutions will adjust their focus accordingly.
To accomplish this SASA will
  1. Inspire passion for Ancient Studies in high school, undergraduate, and graduate students
  2. Gather and provide content, tools, and instructions online to enable easier access to the study of ancient times
  3. Recruit a community of Ancient Studies students, professionals & enthusiasts to further the cause
  4. Develop, advocate for, and support scholarly life for graduates who work in non-academic fields
Through these efforts, SASA will drive an explosion of informal and formal learning of Ancient Studies.

This will lead to institutional investment in Ancient Studies, and thereby -

Together we will Save Ancient Studies in America!

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