Northern California: Imhotep: The Man, the Myth, the Monster

Presented by: Dr. Julia Troche; Associate Professor at Missouri State University

  • 3:00 PM PTNorthern California
  • Room 140, Social Sciences Building University of California, Berkeley
  • + Add to Calendar

Lecture Information

“It comes to life!” is the tagline for the 1932 Universal film The Mummy wherein a reanimated Imhotep, as the mummy horror icon, brings terror and violence to all who encounter him. Imhotep, in fact, was a historical ancient Egyptian who is credited with engineering Egypt’s first pyramid, the stepped pyramid at Saqqara for King Djoser (c. 2650 BCE). In antiquity he was venerated as a folk hero and eventually worshiped as a god. How and why did Imhotep become a horror icon? The answer is what we refer to as “Egyptomania,” that is, our obsession with and consumption of ancient Egypt throughout history. This talk invites audiences to follow Imhotep and his many legacies throughout history as a way to explore Egyptomania. But it is not all fun and amusement park rides, as we consider some of the benefits and problems of Egyptomania in our everyday lives.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Julia Troche is an Egyptologist, historian, and award-winning educator. She holds a Ph.D. in Egyptology from Brown University and a B.A. in History from UCLA. Dr. Troche is currently Associate Professor at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO, and Visiting Scholar of Egyptology at Brown for her sabbatical (2023-24). She serves as a Governor for the Board of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), is President and co-founder of ARCE-Missouri, and for the American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR), she is co-chair of the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee and co-chair of the Archaeology of Egypt sessions for the annual meeting. Julia’s first book, Death, Power, and Apotheosis in Ancient Egypt: The Old and Middle Kingdoms was published in 2021 with Cornell University Press. She is currently working on a book about the god Ptah for Bloomsbury, a textbook (with B. Brinkman) for Routledge, and a series of articles on Egyptomania and Imhotep that she hopes to turn into a public-facing book.