Friday, April 24, 2009

Egyptology Schools

One of the most common questions I receive is where Egyptology is offered. Rather than keep answering...

Berkeley- This program is perhaps best avoided for the time being. Candy Keller died of cancer last year, leaving Carol Redmount the only Egyptologist at Berkeley. She focuses on Egyptian archaeology and works in the delta. The Hearst museum has a good Egyptian collection, particularly for the early periods. Berkeley also has experts in Akkadian and Sumerian.

Brown- This department has boomed over the last two years, going from one full-time Egyptology professor to three. James Allen wrote THE definitive book on Egyptian grammar and recently came to Brown after working for many years at the Metropolitan Museum. Allen is one of the few to work in both Egyptian language and archaeology. Laurel Bestock is also a new acquisition. She focuses on archaeology, particularly funerary archaeology and kingship cults. Leo Depuydt has broad interests and works in virtually all areas of Egyptian culuture. The department recently hired Omur Harmansah, who studies the art of Turkey and Mesopotamia, and has a couple of Akkadian experts, but the Near Eastern offerings are otherwise sparse at the moment. The RISD museum has a small but good collection of Egyptian art.

Chicago- The primary focus is on Egyptian language, but archaeology offerings are available. The NELC department currently has three Egyptologists with plans to hire a fourth. Janet Johnson studies Egyptian women and Demotic. Robert Ritner studies Egyptian magic, Egyptian-Libyan interactions, and the Third Intermediate/Late Periods. Nadine Moeller is a new addition to the faculty and focuses on Old Kingdom archaeology, particularly settlement archaeology. She directs a dig at Edfu. The Oriental Institute is compiling a Demotic dictionary and does epigraphic work through Chicago House. The NELC department also has specialists in Hittite, Sumerian, Akkadian, Ugaritic, and even Elamite. The Oriental Institute museum has a sizeable collection of Egyptian artifacts.

Johns Hopkins- The department is strong in both archaeology and language. Richard Jasnow is the language specialist and covers most things, although he is particularly interested in Demotic. Betsy Bryan is the archaeologist and directs a dig at Karnak in the Mut Precinct; she is particularly interested in New Kingdom art and archaeology. Johns Hopkins also has experts in Akkadian, Sumerian, Hebrew, and ancient law. Students have access to the Walters Museum, which has a very good collection of ancient art.

Memphis- Egyptology is booming here, with an astonishing five Egyptologists working at Memphis. Two work in the history department; the remaining three work in the art history department. Peter Brand (history) studies Egyptian-Hittite interactions and has long supervised an epigraphic project at the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak. Suzanne Onstine (history) studies Egyptian religion and ancient Egyptian women. Recently she started a project excavating and surveying the tomb of Pa-nehsy and Ta-renut in Thebes. Patricia Podzorksi (art history) studies Egyptian archaeology, with a particular emphasis on museology, ceramics, osteology, and Predynastic Egypt. Mariam Ayad (art history) is the primary instructor of Middle Egyptian at Memphis and studies Egyptian language and religion. Lorelei Corcoran (art history) studies funerary archaeology, particularly Roman portraiture. Memphis has a small but representative collection of about 1100 Egyptian artifacts.

Michigan- Egyptology is fairly weak at Michigan compared to Assyriology or Hittitology. Janet Richards is the archaeologist, with an exclusive focus on funerary archaeology. Terry Wilfong teaches the language courses, but he is primarily interested in Christian Egypt (Coptic period). The Kelsey Museum has a decent ancient art collection.

NYU- Unlike the other universities, the Egyptologists at NYU are scattered throughout several different departments. Ogden Goelet in Middle Eastern Studies in the language expert, with a wide range of interests. Ann Macy Roth in art history is the archaeology expert; she studies Egyptian society, religion, and funerary archaeology. Roger Bagnall in Classics is a Graeco-Roman Egypt specialist recently lured away from Columbia. NYU also has Ellen Morris and David O’Connor, both of whom are fantastic scholars and work in virtually all aspects of Egyptian archaeology. NYU recently acquired the Amheida project from Columbia, which is a semester-long field school in Egypt open to students. Except for a couple experts in Ugaritic and Akkadian, not much is offered in other Near Eastern fields.

Penn- The department focuses almost entirely on archaeology, although courses in Egyptian language are offered. David Silverman has broad interests in Egyptian art and archaeology, particularly the New Kingdom. Josef Wegner is also an archaeologist and focuses on the Middle Kingdom, particularly temple architecture. Penn has experts in Akkadian and Sumerian, and fieldwork in Egypt is carried out at Abydos. The Egyptian collection of the Penn Museum is the largest in the US.

UCLA- The department is strong in both archaeology and language. Jacco Dieleman is the language specialist, with interests in Egyptian religion, magic, and cultural interactions. Willeke Wendrich is the archaeology expert, with broad range of interests. Kara Cooney (whom you may have seen on the Discovery Channel) is a new hire that will be starting next fall. She specializes in the New Kingdom, Egyptian economy, and settlement archaeology. The department runs a field school in the delta, supervised by Wendrich. Like Chicago, UCLA has experts in a wide range of Near Eastern fields.

Yale- This is a reasonably solid department with a strong focus on language. John Darnell and Colleen Manassa have very similar interests, as she was his graduate student. All aspects of Egyptian language are covered, but archaeology offerings are sparse. The department occcasionally allows advanced undergraduates to participate in the fieldwork in the western desert. The NELC department is also home to a few Akkadian scholars. Yale has a reasonably sized collection of Egyptian art in its art gallery and natural history museum.