Chicago: All Our Yesterdays: Disability in Ancient Egypt

Presented by: Dr. Alexandra F. Morris, Teaching Affiliate in Classics and Archaeology, University of Nottingham, and Access Guide, Diversity and Ability

  • 5:00 PM CTChicago
  • Zoom
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Lecture Abstract

The talk will provide an overview of disability and bodily difference in ancient Egypt from both pharaonic and Ptolemaic periods from a disabled Egyptologist’s perspective. Evidence examined will include art, texts, and skeletal remains. A further examination of these artefacts also helps illuminate the lives of disabled people from these time periods. Disability was incorporated into the religions of both the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, and was seen as a part of everyday life. This is an aspect of the ancient world which has largely been ignored by modern day historians, despite the evidence being there, resulting in an entire minority group being erased from history. Disabled people deserve to be seen, to see themselves reflected in, and to learn about our own history, including our own ancient history. Finally, this talk will also start to examine the dangers of interpreting the past from a solely non-disabled perspective, and help elucidate these lost disability narratives.

Speaker’s Bio

Alexandra F. Morris is an Egyptologist and disability activist. She recently was awarded her PhD in history from Teesside University, and her research interests include disability in the ancient world, ancient Egyptian and Greek art, medicine, and religious practices, Ptolemaic Egypt, Alexander the Great, and creating more accessible and inclusive museums for the disabled community. She holds an MA in Museum Studies from New York University and an MA in Near Eastern Languages & Civilisations (Egyptology) from the University of Pennsylvania. Her BA is in Archaeological Studies, Anthropology, and Art History with minors in Classics and history from SUNY Potsdam. Alexandra is also the Co-Founder of the UK Disability History and Heritage Hub, Co-Chair of CripAntiquity, serves on the Editorial Board for Asterion Hub, is Co-Chair of Communications for the Board of Directors for the Museum Education Roundtable, and is Chair of the Lewisboro, NY Advisory Committee for the Disabled. She has cerebral palsy and dyspraxia.