Introducing ISAW's Expanding the Ancient World Program

By Lily Wichert

A group of ISAW community members recently launched an outreach initiative entitled Expanding the Ancient World (ETAW). This program offers continuing education workshops and resources for K-12 educators teaching about the ancient world, and participants can receive Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) credits through the New York State Education Department. ETAW workshops aim to match current research being done by ISAW graduate students and faculty with the New York City Social Studies Scope and Sequence curriculum and start new conversations about how and why we teach the ancient world. This program is one of ISAW’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility initiatives (IDEA-ISAW), and aims to both share stories of the diversity of the human past and to connect with a wider audience in our New York community. 

The opening workshop was offered online in December 2022 on the topic of “Diverse Perspectives on the Silk Roads: The Sogdians.” More than 40 participants learned about life along the Silk Roads network, from the role of Sogdian merchants and travelers in facilitating trade across Central Asia, to how other groups such as the Tang Chinese perceived the Sogdians. In February of this year the program hosted its first in-person event, which focused on the exhibition Ritual and Memory: The Ancient Balkans and Beyond and included a workshop on how object-based approaches to learning can open up new questions and perspectives among young audiences.

ETAW will host workshops on a variety of relevant topics showcasing the multitude of cultures and peoples who lived in the past. Upcoming events this spring include: 

To stay up to date on future events, please join ETAW’s mailing list or check back on ETAW’s webpage!


Expanding the Ancient World is made possible by generous support from ISAW, the Society for Classical Studies, and the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust.

four people looking at a ceramic vessel with a human face inside a glass case in front of the exhibition banner labeled “‘Ritual and Memory: The Ancient Balkans and Beyond The most recent workshop explored the ISAW exhibition “Ritual and Memory: The Ancient Balkans and Beyond”

 a person standing in front of an ancient limestone stele that shows figures in silhouette as part of a funeral procession Participants in the workshop explored thousands of years of history in the region