What is Pasts Imperfect?
A space for addressing forgotten, manipulated, or misunderstood global histories within the ancient world, a network for lifting up public scholars
Pasts Imperfect is a network which works to amplify and support public writing focused on a global antiquity. The newsletter is just one component in the development of a broader framework of media outlets, scholars, and editors who wish to support, mentor, publish, and pay writers pursuing a public voice.
For our first newsletter, we wanted to signal boost the creation of a number of new spaces connected to Pasts Imperfect that are welcoming pitches for public writing examining ancient pasts from a global perspective. These spaces underscore scholarship from diverse scholars as well as those not on the tenure track—and welcome submissions.
The Launch of “Pasts Imperfect” within the Los Angeles Review of Books
“Pasts Imperfect” is a column at the Los Angeles Review of Books that explores the impact of pasts on the present. Begun by Sarah E. Bond, Joel Christensen, and Nandini Pandey, “Pasts Imperfect” is a space for addressing forgotten, manipulated, or misunderstood global histories within the ancient world from South America to the Indus Valley and the ancient Mediterranean. We also hope to highlight how narratives about the past influence the world we live in today, from books and movies to executive orders.
The first edition of the monthly column is now published and explores whether we should question the “hero’s journey” (i.e. the Monomyth) popularized by Joseph Campbell in his The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949). Our second column is by Stephanie Wong and will be published in mid-September.
You can also pitch to our “Pasts Imperfect” column at the LA Review of Books using this form. We hope to hear from you and we especially encourage emerging and historically underrepresented scholars to consider working with our mentorship network.
The Launch of “Antiquities” within Public Books
Over at Public Books, a new section called “Antiquities” edited by Stephanie Wong & Sarah E. Bond welcomes pitches for a special issue to be published in January of 2022 and other articles to appear in 2022. As they note, “‘Antiquities’ seeks punchy writing about the ancient world and its global legacies. Our primary aim is to highlight marginalized voices, so if you aren’t That Classics Guy (you know who we’re talking about) and you have an original, relevant, and/or weird take, please pitch us here for a ~2500-word piece. Tenured writers are encouraged to write collaboratively, e.g. with graduate students or contingent faculty members.”
Where Do We Go From Here?
As the edges of this public history project come into being, we will keep you updated. Our belief is that rather than investing all our energy into the development of a single journal from above, we need to begin to bring agency to writers, editors, and content creators from below by making direct connections with numerous media outlets. Fundraising, editorial boards, and future partners are all in the works, but here we are at the start, just trying to start a new thing.
If you want to be a part of it, please subscribe below or write to us at: