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London study day: Disciplinary Measures? Histories of Egyptology in a Multi-Disciplinary Context

Event Info

Host: EES
Type: Education - Lecture

Time and Place

Start Time: Saturday, 12th June 2010, 9:30 am
End Time: Saturday, 12th June 2010, 8:00 pm
Location: The Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS
Street: Thornhaugh St, Russell Square
City/Town: London WC1H 0XG
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Contact Details

Email: contact@ees.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)20 7242 1880
Link: http://tinyurl.com/discmeasures


This event represents the third day of a conference* sponsored jointly by the EES, The Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and The Heritage Studies Research Group, University College London (UCL) Institute of Archaeology. Building on the campaign to raise money for the Society's Lucy Gura Archive (http://tinyurl.com/ygcpeck) and the growing interest in the history of our subject, the conference aims to stimulate discussion of the place of the - arguably colonial - discipline of Egyptology in the postcolonial world by bringing together experts from a variety of fields: cultural, literary and postcolonial studies, heritage studies, Egyptology and archaeology.

09.30 Doors open for registration and a sale of books in the foyer to the Brunei Gallery Theatre. Coffee and tea will be available.
10.20 Opening remarks
10.30 William Carruthers, summary of the previous days' discussions*
11.00 Dr Jason Thompson, Edward William Lane and Ancient Egypt
12.00 Dr David Jeffreys, Joseph Hekekyan: a pioneer archaeologist in nineteenth-century Egypt
12.50 LUNCH (please make your own arrangements)
13.50 Dr Jaromir Malek, Egyptology - a subject without a history
14.40 Professor Stephen Quirke, Petrie Pictures: the difference a time makes
15.30 Coffee/tea and biscuits
16.00 Professor Donald Reid, Tutankhamun between Empire and Nation: British and Egyptian rhythms of remembering and forgetting
16.50 Discussion and summary
17.30 Reception in the Brunei Suite

William Carruthers began his research in the history of Egyptology at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, and will soon be continuing his work at the University of Cambridge. He received an EES Centenary Award in 2009-10 to undertake a research trip to investigate archival sources in Cairo.

Jason Thompson is a historian and writer who specializes in east-west encounter, particularly the British encounter with the Middle East. Edward William Lane (1801-1876) is well remembered as one of the greatest of nineteenth-century orientalists. It is not generally recognised, however, that Lane's original inspiration was ancient Egypt. Had his first manuscript, the magnificently illustrated Description of Egypt been published, as Lane intended, he would be remembered today as a pioneering Egyptologist as well as a great orientalist. Dr Thompson will explore the range of Lane's Egyptological work and his contribution to the nascent science of Egyptology, in the process revealing a fascinating episode in the Western encounter with Egypt, both ancient and modern.

David Jeffreys is Senior Lecturer in Egyptian Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and Director of the EES Survey of Memphis. Joseph Hekekyan (1807-1875) was, like Petrie, trained outside the Egyptological mainstream but despite (or because of) this, he achieved notable results in his fieldwork at Heliopolis, Memphis and other sites that are still of great value today. Unlike Petrie, Hekekyan remains almost unknown in the Egyptological literature; this talk will examine why.

Jaromir Malek is Editor of the Topographical Bibliography and Keeper of the Griffith Institute Archive. Egyptology is one of the few 'mature' subjects which do not have a detailed written history. This has serious implications and several of these will be explored in detail in this paper. A history of a subject is more than just a collection of names, dates and titles of publications. Such a history enables one to trace the reasons for particular developments, such as trends in research, availability of resources and even personal appointments, which often lie beyond the core of the subject. The motivation may be crudely political, nationalistic, dependent on contemporary developments in other branches of learning (such as information technology), economy based, or purely personal. The absence of the subject's history invites the current scant regard, sometimes bordering on contempt, for documents and other archive material on which a written history of Egyptology will one day be based. Dr Malek will discuss the need for their preservation and ideas about how to get through the current unfavourable conditions, focussing in particular on the situation in the United Kingdom.

Stephen Quirke is curator of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London, and Professor of Egyptian Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. In five decades from 1880 to 1924 as surveyor, supervisor, pupil and teacher in Egyptian archaeology, Flinders Petrie generated a photographic archive of some ten thousand images, the bulk now preserved as negatives and prints at the EES, the Petrie Museum UCL, and the Griffith Institute. At the Petrie Museum, several decades of sorting and identifying by the late Joan Merritt and Barbara Adams produced order out of the chaos making the collection accessible for the first time since Petrie retired from UCL in 1933. Professor Quirke will present the new pictorial history that can be written from this resource once it is joined with the other Petrie images in London and Oxford, and suggests avenues for future research by historians as well as archaeologists.

Donald Reid is Professor Emeritus in the Deptartment of History, Georgia State University. In 1972 Egypt and the UK issued postage stamps celebrating the 50th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb, and the British Museum's exhibition of the treasures marked a second peak in the fifty-year British-Egyptian encounter over Tutankhamun. The first came in the 1920s, when the discovery was followed by clashes over the disposition of the find, management of publicity, and visiting arrangements. Britain's unilateral declaration of Egyptian independence eight months previously had begun a new stage in the imperial-national struggle which would last into the 1950s by which time Tutankhamun had faded in the national consciousness, but the exhibition brought some of the treasures "home", if only briefly, offering hope for better British-Egyptian relations in the emerging postcolonial age.

Event Cost (Members) £25.00 tickets
Event Cost (Non-members) £30.00 tickets
Event Cost (Student Members) £18.00 tickets
Event Cost (Student Non-members) £20.00 tickets

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