Portraits of Tom Palaima looking left and Jan Driessen looking right

The Marion Rawson Visiting Scholars Program welcomes scholars of exceptional merit in any field of Classics to share the intellectual resources of our community of faculty and students at the University of Cincinnati. Typically such individuals will have retired from other institutions and plan to spend time in Cincinnati to continue their programs of research. The program honors native Cliftonite Marion Rawson, who, after graduating from Bryn Mawr College, returned to the University Cincinnati to study architecture. Her association with our department began in 1927 and continued until her death in 1980. During that time she was a creative and academic contributor to several of the most important archaeological excavations sponsored by our department, including Troy and Pylos.

Next year we introduce two new Rawson Scholars to our department.

Portrait of Jan Driessen standing in front of wallJan Driessen by Julien Pohl

Jan Driessen, professor at the Université Catholique de Louvain, is a prehistorian specializing in the archaeology of the Minoan civilization in Crete. Professor Driessen has studied the architecture of the Minoans, as well as the contexts in which Linear B tablets were found at Knossos in Crete. He has participated in various archaeological projects on the island, first through the British School at Athens (Palaikastro, Knossos, Myrtos), then as a Belgian member of the French School at Athens (Malia). His curiosity about the impact of the Santorini eruption on Minoan Crete made him realise that, despite a 100 years of excavation, Minoan society remained as mysterious as it was for Sir Arthur Evans at the beginning of the 20th century. Influenced by Claude Lévi-Strauss and Elinor Ostrom, he has recently tried to approach Minoan society as corporative, based on a locus-bound association of matrifocally organised groups or houses, which, through collective action, collaborated to construct and use the complexes that we call “palaces.” Since 2007, Professor Driessen initiated the first ever excavation by the Belgian School at Athens on Crete at the site of Sissi, on the north coast of Crete, and, between 2012 and 2022, he served as director of the Belgian School at Athens.

Portrait of Tom Palaima looking left with parrot on shoulderTom Palaima and Jumbo

Thomas J. Palaima, professor at the University of Texas at Austin, is a much honored Classicist and linguist, specializing in the study of languages and scripts of early Greece. He has focused on paleography, scribal systems, and the use of Linear B tablets to answer questions about many aspects of life at the time of the Mycenaean civilization. In this regard, he founded the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory at Austin, which now curates the most significant relevant archive for the study of Greek prehistoric scripts. Professor Palaima holds an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University and is a fellow of the MacArthur Foundation. He has also written many public intellectual commentaries, has reviewed books on a broad range of subjects, ancient and modern, and has researched, written, taught, and lectured about how humans, in groups or as individuals, respond to war and violence. He has served as academic co-director of the NEH Aquila Warrior Chorus Project in Austin. He also has also developed an innovative program, focusing on the humanities, which provides impoverished adults with an opportunity to return to higher education. From 2008 through 2011, he was the representative of the University of Texas at Austin on the national Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics.
Professor Palaima has also written extensively about music, especially about Bob Dylan and his cultural influence.