Panel Discussion: "Anxieties about Race in Egyptology and Egyptomania, 1890-1960"

January 16, 2021 1PM ET/ 8PM EET

(Registration form located at the bottom of this page)

To prepare for the program, audience members should listen to this lecture HERE, given at Harvard in 2017 in advance. 

Speakers: Donald Reid, Salima Ikram, Vanessa Davies, Fayza Haikal, Eve M. Troutt Powell, & Annissa Malvoisin

Info about the lecture:

Despite ideals of scientific and scholarly objectivity, both Egyptologists and non-specialists have often projected their own racial anxieties back into ancient Egypt. Recurrent attempts to prove that the ancient Egyptians were white or Black, for example, reveal more about modern societies than about ancient Egypt. The panel will discuss the history of how such debates have played out among modern Western and Egyptian scholars, artists, and writers, and how interpretations of ancient Egypt are intertwined with personal beliefs and prejudices. 

Speaker Biographies:

Donald Reid:

Donald Reid specializes in the history of the modern Middle East, especially Egypt. His books include Contesting Antiquity in Egypt: Archaeologies, Museums, & the Struggle for Identities from World War I to Nasser, 2015; Whose Pharaohs? Archaeology, Museums, and Egyptian National Identity from Napoleon to World War I, 2002; and Cairo University and the Making of Modern Egypt, 1990. 




Salima Ikram:

Salima Ikram is an Egyptologist teaching at the American University in Cairo. She directs the Amenmesses Project- KV10/KV63 and the North Kharga Darb Ain Amur Survey, and works with other missions in Egypt and Sudan. Her research interest focus on daily life, funerary customs, rock art, animals and the environment, and heritage management. Her most recent publication is A History of World Egyptology. 

Vanessa Davies:

Vanessa Davies is the founding organizer of the Nile Valley Collective, which promotes the Africanity of the ancient Nile Valley cultures. She is writing a book on the contributions of scholars of African descent in the US to the disciplinary histories of Egyptology and Nubiology. She is the author of Peace in Ancient Egypt, the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Egyptian Epigraphy and Palaeography, and the editor of The Phoebe A. Hearst Expedition to Naga ed-Deir, Cemeteries N 2000 and N 2500. 


Fayza Haikal: 

Fayza Haikal received her BA in Egyptology from Cairo University and her DPhil. from the University of Oxford. She taught at Cairo University Faculty of Archaeology until she moved to the American University in Cairo to help establish a program of Egyptology there. She was also a visiting Professor at Paris IV-La Sorbonne, at Charles University in Prague and at Roma/ la Sapienza and lectured intensely all over the world. She is the first Egyptian woman to have worked in Nubia during the international campaign for the salvage of archaeological sites in North Sinai during the digging of the Peace Canal. She has been honored by Egypt and Internationally on several occasions. Currently a Professor Emerita at the American University in Cairo, she continues her research on many aspects of Ancient Egyptian culture and their transmission to the modern world. 

Annissa Malvoisin:

Annissa Malvoisin is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto in the department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations and specializes in Egyptology, Nubian studies, and Museum studies. She earned her Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. She is currently an Of Africa intern conducting research, object cataloguing and community engagement in Toronto’s Black Community at the Royal Ontario Museum under the supervision of the Senior Curator of Art and Culture: Global Africa,. Her research interests are focused in Meroitic pottery typological analysis and cultural contextualization of which she combines with museological practice and theory. Her doctoral thesis research investigates the ceramic production and trade industry during Meroitic Nubia and its potential far reaching networks linking Nubia and Egypt to Iron Age Western Africa cultures.

Eve M. Troutt Powell: 

Dr. Troutt Powell is a teacher of the history of the modern Middle East and the history of slavery in the Nile Valley and the Ottoman Empire. As a cultural historian, she emphasizes the exploration of literature and film in her courses. Her most recent book is “Tell This in My Memory: Stories of Enslavement in Egypt, Sudan, and the Late Ottoman Empire (Stanford University Press, 2012).” Trout Powell is now working on a book about the visual culture of slavery in the Middle East which will explore the painting and photography about African and Circassian slavery in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is also a professor in the Department of Africana Studies. 

Registration will close 24 hours before the lecture starts. Registration does not include any future lectures in this series.