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Dr. Kara Cooney

Fee Range: $2500 - $5000

Egyptologist, Professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture

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AccountabilityAdventurersArchaeologyArts/Culture/MusicHistoryInspirationWomen in Society

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California

About

Dr. Kara Cooney

Egyptologist, Professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture

Dr. Kathlyn (Kara) Cooney is a professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA. Specializing in craft production, coffin studies, and economies in the ancient world, Cooney received her PhD in Egyptology from Johns Hopkins University. In 2005, she was co-curator of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Cooney produced a comparative archaeology television series, entitled Out of Egypt, which aired in 2009 on the Discovery Channel and is available online via Netflix and Amazon.

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt is Cooney’s first trade book, and it benefits from her immense knowledge of Egypt’s ancient history to craft an illuminating biography of its least well-known female king. As an archaeologist who spent years at various excavations in Egypt, Cooney draws from the latest field research to fill in the gaps in the physical record of Hatshepsut. Published by Crown Publishing Group, the book releases on October 14, 2014.

Cooney’s current research in coffin reuse, primarily focusing on the 20th Dynasty, is ongoing. Her research investigates the socioeconomic and political turmoil that have plagued the period, ultimately affecting funerary and burial practices in ancient Egypt. This project has taken her around the world over the span of five to six years to study and document more than 300 coffins in collections, including those in Cairo, London, Paris, Berlin, and Vatican City.

 

The Woman Who Would Be King:  Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt

A woman’s power in the ancient world was always compromised from the outset.  Complex societies are inherently based on masculine dominance, forcing female rulers to resort to familiar methods to gain power. Some female rulers, like Cleopatra, used their sexuality to gain access to important men and bearing them children. Many, like Sobeknefru, only ruled at the end of a dynasty, after the male line had run out, or, like Britain’s Boudica, in the midst of civil war. Sometimes, a woman was the only effective leader left after drawn-out battles against imperial aggression. Some women, like Hatshepsut, gained their position as the regent and helper of a masculine king who was too young to rule.  Almost no evidence of successful, long-term female leaders exists from the ancient world – in the Mediterranean, Near East, Africa, Central Asia, or East Asia. Only the female king of Egypt, Hatshepsut, was able to take on formal power for any considerable length of time, and even she had to share power with a male ruler. Given this social reality, how then Hatshepsut negotiate her leadership role? How did she rule “behind the throne” before her accession? Why did she ascend the throne as a king? What was her relationship with her co-regent Thutmose III? How are we to find this woman’s power when it is cloaked by traditional patriarchal systems? This lecture will work through the ample evidence for Hatshepsut’s reign in an attempt to find the woman behind the statues, monuments, stelae, and obelisks.

 

Ancient Egypt: 3000 Years of Drama, Spectacle, and Remarkable Characters

Why is ancient Egypt so compelling to us today? Why do we care so much about the gold, the pyramids, the hieroglyphic script, the mummies, and the extraordinary leaders like Nefertiti, Ramses, and Hatshepsut, people who flourished so many thousands of years ago? As a UCLA Professor and Egyptologist, Kara Cooney has devoted over two decades of her life to the study of this ancient place, and will unravel why we care and what this unending fascination says about us.  This remarkable lecture will examine how Egypt is utterly unique on this planet, a protected realm full of riches beyond reckoning and agricultural resources that allowed an unassailable divine kingship to develop. She will examine the spectacle of monumental statuary, of pyramids, of coffins made of hundreds of pounds of solid gold, and of granite and sandstone pillared halls – the supports of a totalitarian regime with a veritable God-King at the helm. She will ask why the ancient Egyptians preserved so many bodies, carefully embalming the wealthy and elite into mummies, while preserving so little of the private information from their minds. Ancient Egypt remains for us a place of mystery, fascination, and contradictions, but if we pierce the carefully woven veil before our eyes, we can also see the humanity of these extraordinary people.

 

To book this speaker please visit www.cassidyandfishman.com or call 508.485.8996