The Power of Antiquity in the Making of Modern Egypt
In this virtual lecture on Thursday, Apr. 21, Historian of Archaeology and Modern Egypt Wendy Doyon will discuss the relationship between state, archaeology and labor in Mehmed (or Muhammad) Ali’s Egypt—an autonomous khedival, or viceregal, state within the late Ottoman Empire. She will explain how the power of the Egyptian state in the nineteenth century was built, in large part, on the creation of modern antiquities land plus the organization of Egyptian workers as state assets controlled by Mehmed Ali Pasha and his dynasty-building successors. Ancient Egypt conjures images of pharaonic temples, tombs and pyramids, and perhaps, even the familiar illustrations from children’s books and magazines showing kilted workers on the Nile toiling away on their kings’ great monuments. But what is the relationship between these images—along with the deep history they evoke and the processes of discovery that made them visible—and the history of modern Egypt?
This talk is presented by Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East and Harvard Museums of Science & Culture.