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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Jane Harrison

b. 1850, Cottingham, Yorkshire, England; d. 1928, London

Classical scholar Jane Ellen Harrison pioneered the use of anthropological and sociological methods in the study of antiquity. She and other Cambridge Ritualists, as they came to be called, extended the scope of classical studies beyond the classical age of Greece (480–323 B.C.) to include the archaic period (600–680 B.C.). She was the first person to receive a research fellowship at Newnham College in Cambridge (her alma mater), and remained there for twenty-five years (1898–1922). Her most important works, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion (1903) and Themis: A Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion (1912), argue for the ritual origins of myth, religion, and drama.