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The State of Amphora, The Outreach Publication of the SCS

Wells Hansen

National Taiwan University / Amphora Editor

Amphora, the outreach publication of the Society for Classical Studies, is a peer-reviewed publication whose content is disseminated through the SCS website. Readers are alerted to each new article via SCS social media, and all past Amphora content can be accessed through dedicated pages within the SCS website. But this has not always been so. In striving to fulfill its mission of conveying "the excitement of classical studies to a broad readership by offering accessible articles written by professional scholars and experts on topics of classical interest," Amphora has re-invented itself in a number of ways over the years. This report explores how Amphora, as a digital publication, does and can support SCS outreach in ways that differ from those of a blog, an online journal, or a print publication.

Between its inception in 2002 and 2015 Amphora published a total of nineteen print issues. During the publication's first decade, members of The Association came to know the distinctive blue and gold masthead with its plump and welcoming Amphora (a playful expansion of the initials "APA"), that arrived in the mail once or twice a year. However, when Ellen Bauerle of the University of Michigan Press took over as editor in the summer of 2012, Amphora was charged with redefining itself in an increasingly digital world. Dr. Bauerle recognized at the outset that to succeed in its outreach mission, Amphora required a digital face.  Working tirelessly with the members of the (then) Outreach Committee, she and the editorial board articulated a position for Amphora within the SCS structure, and in 2015 Amphora began to publish its content on the SCS blog. At the 2017 SCS meeting the Executive Director and Editorial Board decided to suspend print publication indefinitely.

The result has, in part, been an increased view of Amphora as not only a conduit for content, but also an outreach content bank. In this way, Amphora is a uniquely effective hybrid. It has elements of an "online journal;" it is peer-reviewed, carefully edited, arranged and archived by volume and number, and has behind it the gravitas conveyed by the SCS name. It also has blog-like qualities; it is free to the world (a significant change from the days when Amphora was a benefit to dues-paying members), articles appear when they are ready and the editors deem them relevant to the conversations of the day, and each article is generally only a few thousand words long. But the importance of Amphora to the SCS is not a function of its format, but rather of its mission. Unlike either an online journal or a blog, Amphora disseminates content that encourages, facilitates, and exemplifies classical "outreach." Reviews and critical interpretations of popular books, plays, films, music, and technology are excellent examples. Amphora papers are characterized by rigorous argumentation, carefully selected evidence, and a readable style. In this way Amphora creates a bank of content that is eminently shareable and highly useable by those in search for inspiration for how to convey "the excitement of classical studies."

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Outreach Open Mic

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