The SCS Outreach Prize Committee is pleased to award the 2022 Outreach Prize to the Peopling the Past project.
Our outreach prize recognizes work that makes the ancient Mediterranean accessible to a broader audience, work that is critical to the future of our field. This year, we are honoring an innovative project that has enriched the field and provided a wealth of material for teachers and scholars while also giving a platform to underrepresented scholars and scholarship. The Society for Classical Studies is pleased to award the 2022 Outreach Award to Peopling the Past.
Peopling the Past (https://peoplingthepast.com/) is a collaborative multi-media, digital humanities initiative that produces and hosts open-access resources for teaching and learning about the real people of the ancient world, and is run by seven junior scholars, all women, from the fields of archaeology, history, and philology: Dr. Carolyn M. Laferrière, Assistant Curator of Ancient Mediterranean Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton University; Dr. Chelsea A.M. Gardner, Associate Professor, Department of History and Classics, Acadia University; Dr. Christine L. Johnston, Assistant Professor of Ancient Mediterranean History, Department of History, Western Washington University; Dr. Megan J. Daniels, Assistant Professor of Ancient Greek Material Culture, Department of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies, University of British Columbia; Dr. Melissa Funke, Assistant Professor of Classics, Department of Classics, University of Winnipeg; Dr. Sabrina C. Higgins, Assistant Professor of Aegean and Mediterranean Societies and Cultures, Department of Global Humanities, Simon Fraser University; Dr. Victoria Austen, Robert Oden Jr. Postdoctoral Fellow in Innovation in the Humanities and Classics, Carleton College.
Peopling the Past was created as a response to the dramatic shift to online instruction following the Covid outbreak of early 2020 and was officially launched in September 2020. The project includes podcasts, educational videos, and a blog, all hosted on its website. The revolutionary aspect of this initiative consists in the fact that the topics covered relate to real people in the ancient world. Each scholar provides accessible introductions to one specific topic across ancient cultures and includes resources for further research. Through its different formats, Peopling the Past contributes to public history and the sharing of knowledge with specialists and non-specialists alike, in addition to providing open-access teaching resources that can be used in the classroom.
Through both its website and its social media presence, Peopling the Past has reached thousands of people, thus making cutting-edge scholarship on non-traditional topics publicly accessible. By focusing on topics such as disability and accessibility in Greek sanctuaries, migrant women in the ancient world, and evidence for the experiences and lives of soldiers’ families in the Roman provinces, the six scholars who run this project have significantly contributed to expanding the notion of Classics beyond its traditional boundaries. In addition to a broad range of topics, Peopling the Past also highlights a broad range of scholars, many of whom are early career researchers, helping the next generation of classics scholars reach the next generation of classics students.