More Than Just Egyptomania: Interactions between Americans and Ancient Egypt from the Nineteenth Century to Today

AHA Session 37
Thursday, January 2, 2014: 3:30 PM-5:30 PM
Washington Room 5 (Marriott Wardman Park)
Melinda Nelson-Hurst, Tulane University Alicia Cunningham-Bryant, Temple University

Session Abstract

From as early as the first half of the nineteenth century until today, ancient Egyptian artifacts have helped to shape not only the popular view of Egypt in the United States, but also United States foreign policy.  This panel will use a variety of approaches to explore the diversity of interactions between Americans and Ancient Egypt during the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries.  Through examining Victorian views and uses of mummies, how scholars of today work with the (often poorly documented) collections that nineteenth-century scientists and collectors left behind, the portrayal of Ancient Egypt in film, and the link between twentieth-century archaeology and foreign policy, the speakers will show how Americans of various backgrounds – politicians, scholars, and the public – have approached, and were influenced by, Ancient Egypt.  This panel seeks to engage anyone with an interest in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, science in Victorian America, how foreign and ancient cultures are portrayed through various media, and the history and influence of scholarship on the popular perception of Ancient Egypt.

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