First of all: happy New Year from all of us here at Ancient World Magazine! We are sure that you are happy to see the back of 2020. It was certainly a year that will be marked out in the history books. A year scarred by a global pandemic, but also a year that saw a groundswell of support in favour of social justice, against racism and structural violence.
We hope that 2021 will be a much better year than what we have just lived through. Already, there is plenty to be optimistic about: a vaccine for the coronavirus has been developed and is currently being rolled out, and the oaf that has occupied the White House until now has all but left, to make way for someone who seems to be concerned with more than just his own fortunes.
We also hope that reforms of the justice system everywhere will be pushed through, and that politicians realize the need for a more equitable as well as ecologically sustainable society. But hope alone may not be enough. We need to take an active stance against injustice. We need to actively seek to make the world a better place. And this starts with articulating what you believe in, and trying to convince others of your point of view.
We have had no issue articulating our political stance, to the chagrin of those who wrongly believe that studying the ancient world should be impersonal and devoid of politics. As Michael Shanks and Christopher Tilley put it in their Archaeology and Social Theory (1987), “Archaeology, as cultural practice, is always a politics, a morality” (p. 212). This sentiment can be extended to any humanities discipline, not just archaeology.
For Ancient World Magazine, 2020 has been a good year. The number of people who now support us via Patreon is large enough to enable us to start paying (some) contributors for their work. One author has already been paid for an article that will be published in February as part of our celebration of Black History Month. Other authors who will be paid for their wonderful efforts are finishing up their articles, and we’re actively soliciting more.
We also founded Bad Ancient, a website that aims to debunk claims about the ancient world, named after a hashtag Dr Owen Rees introduced on Twitter. Like Ancient World Magazine, Bad Ancient has also seen an increase in the number of contributors, who freely write about a contentious topic that is within their field of expertise. More articles are planned, and Drs Owen Rees and Manu Dal Borgo are set to host a podcast of their own, to alternate every other month with the regular Ancient World Magazine podcast.
We are also in the process of developing a webshop with merchandise to give readers an alternative way to support our endeavours in future. We are planning for the shop to be realized later this month, so watch this space.
Last but not least, our team was also enhanced with an honest-to-goodness intern – Daniel Woon. Daniel was a former student of Owen’s. He’s been helping us out getting a handle on merchandising. We’ve also tasked him with some editorial and writing duties, which he has taken up with aplomb: you can look forward to reading some of his articles soon.
As always, we would like to thank all of you for your support and encouragement. We have grown considerably since our launch in 2017 and look forward to bringing you interesting articles and podcasts about the ancient world for another year!
Again, our best wishes for 2021. We look forward to experiencing this year with you.