Since the Fall of 2014, PASP has been undertaking several new initiatives. The most significant is our increased contact with other scholars of scripts and language on the University of Texas campus and beyond.
The University of Texas at Austin has a long history of script studies in several fields in the Humanities. Scholars in Classics, Middle Eastern Studies, Religious Studies, Linguistics, Anthropology, and related fields have been involved in these pursuits. We are fortunate that so many distinctive approaches to the study of writing can be found here at the University of Texas, and should exploit that fact. Focus on document contents, find spots, semantics, dialects, paleography, epigraphy, issues of literacy, or any combination of the above can be found here. These scholars include John Huehnergard, Jo Ann Hackett, Sarah Kimball, David Stuart, Tom Palaima, emerita Denise Schmandt-Besserat, as well as related faculty in Classics and many talented graduate students. We feel that there needs to be a nexus on campus that brings together academic professionals in the areas of script and decipherment studies. In this way, we can maximize the use of UT resources, including human, material, and financial resources, enhance collaboration and advancement of knowledge, and establish a program that would be attractive to potential donors.
A logical core for this collaborative center is an expansion of the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory (PASP). Since 1986, PASP, established by Tom Palaima, has been the chief international center for the study of Aegean scripts. On-site research materials include photographs of all documents inscribed with Aegean scripts (Linear A, Linear B, Cretan Hieroglyphic, and Cypro-Minoan) that were excavated prior to the mid-90s, the research archives of several scholars in the field including Alice Kober, Emmett L. Bennett, Jr., Elizabeth Barber, and Tom Palaima, and an extensive and exhaustive reference library. PASP also compiles and publishes Studies in Mycenaean Inscriptions and Dialect (SMID), a bibliographic journal with article summaries and multiple search indices. To this we are adding 3d scans of all tablets and sealings from Pylos. It is now time to expand the focus of PASP, and to enable directed collaboration among scholars and students in PASP and related fields.
We also share a common vision with the Linguistics Research Center (LRC), with whom a partnership will be mutually beneficial. While the LRC has a focus on languages and language families, our focus is much more on writing systems, the act of writing, materials and medium, paleography, and epigraphy. While we will maintain our autonomy, control of research collections, and research agenda, we will collaborate actively on major research initiatives