ELECTRUM Why the Past Matters
Historians and archaeologists attempt to reconstruct the remains of the human past, leading them to believe they understand something about it. Because the present proceeds from the past and the roots of so many present cultures can be traced to past antecedents, archaeologists and historians often believe they better understand the present by looking back to the past. Furthermore, when they look for possible repeating patterns, archaeologists and historians might also have hunches about the future from reading currents of the past and present flowing together. This does not mean archaeologists and historians see themselves as prescient or as forward-looking prophets, but merely that they are used to taking the long view on the ebb and flow of civilizations. Thus our magazine ELECTRUM aims to trace understandable patterns from ancient to modern culture.
Our name ELECTRUM is an ancient word. Its possible meanings sum up many evolving ideas in the past and present. To amplify the meanings we identify as important to our mission, see our accompanying article on “Electrum.”
For our editorial purposes the word “electrum” can even somehow connote the idea of electronic transmission of text and idea, the way the internet facilitates communication in the Information Age in e-texts through journals and magazines as well as academe. We will not at this time be published in hard copy and paper issues, especially since electronic access and format is predicted to be the future of communication.
The name ELECTRUM for our new magazine is therefore apropos. For us it is the perfect composite word joining all these ideas from past and present into a domain with which we identify.
Reception of history and how its legacy is transformed by subsequent ages is vital in modern research. Interpreting history through its record of both subtle and radical change is a difficult process, and much is lost to us even acknowledging our possible interpretations are always biased as we engage in different competing hermeneutics. We may be removed from the past by multiple filters of time, space, language and culture, but we are still its offspring. ELECTRUM is committed to a combination of written word and visual image and even the subtle metadata associated with both.
ELECTRUM is also committed to making academic language more accessible. Its editors intend to be on the cutting edge of information about the past as received in the present. We intend to be as global in focus as is possible, drawing from the best available current historical and archaeological research. In this sense we are open to queries although much of our material is by invitation. This editorial purview includes prose articles, unique photo essays and even poetry connecting past to present. We are greatly interested in original writing that supports our vision for a new publication elaborating where the past matters in the present.
Patrick Hunt and James Geary