Classics 325: Inventing Egypt

Credits 4

This seminar examines the various ways in which ancient Egypt has been imagined in the European, Egyptian, and American nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with an emphasis on visual culture. Egyptology, the scientific discipline that studies Ancient Egypt, emerged in the nineteenth century in tandem with “Egyptomania,” a Western obsession with all things (ancient) Egyptian. At the same time, Egyptians were struggling against European colonial intervention and vying for control over Egyptian archeology. With particular focus on the ways in which people, imagery, and discourses circulated between three continents, the course will introduce students to the history of Europe’s “discovery” of (ancient) Egypt, the use of Pharaonic imagery in the construction of Egyptian nationhood, the place Egypt occupies in museum collections and art historical narratives, the role of ancient Egypt in American racial politics, and Egypt in European and American pop culture. Discussion-based with short response papers and a longer final paper. May be taken for credit toward the Indigeneity, Race, and Ethnicity Studies major or minor or the South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies major. May be elected as Art History 325.

Distribution Area
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Cultural Pluralism (CP DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Fine Arts (FI DIST)
Students entering prior to Fall 2024: Humanities (HU DIST)

Art History 203; or consent of instructor.