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Date(s) - 02/11/2016
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


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Lecture by Janet Richards: Local saints and the power of the past in early Egypt

Thursday, February 11 at 4:00pm

Art Building (ART), 1.120 2301 SAN JACINTO BLVD , Austin, Texas 78712

Janet Richards will explore the dimensions of the saint cult phenomenon as it played out at Abydos, Egypt in the period c. 2200-1650 BC and contextualize the rise to enhanced status and supernatural power of an individual named Idy. Saints like Idy are touchstones of place-bound memory, mobile actors in the rituals and processions of their local landscapes, and the conveyors of blessings on the living.

Janet Richards is professor of Egyptology in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D. in Anthropology and Oriental Studies, 1992), Northwestern University (B.A. in Anthropology and French, 1981),l’École du Louvre, and l’Université de Paris-IV, she specializes in ancient northeast African archaeology and history, with emphasis on conceptual landscapes, ideologies of power, verbal and spatial rhetorics of response to political crisis, the purposes of biography, local saint cults, social transformations over time as materialized in mortuary and votive contexts, and the past as cultural heritage in the past and present. Since 1995 Richards has directed the University of Michigan’s Abydos Middle Cemetery Project in southern Egypt, a large-scale investigation of a late third-early second millennium BC mortuary landscape. She has also participated in excavations in southern Illinois, and at Amarna, Deir el Ballas, and East Karnak, Egypt.

Her publications include the co-edited volume Order, Legitimacy, and Wealth in Ancient States(Cambridge U. Press, 2000), Society and Death in Ancient Egypt: Mortuary Landscapes of the Middle Kingdom (Cambridge, 2005), and the monograph in preparation Writing Ancient Lives:Weni the Elder and Ancient Egyptian Responses to Political Crisis (Cambridge). She has received fellowships and grants from the American Philosophical Society, National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Geographic Society, American Research Center in Egypt. In 2014 Richards was an Ellen Maria Gorrissen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.
Image (c) Trustees of the British Museum.