Ethnicity, Race, and Racism Research Seminar: Dr Mary Horbury

8th Mar 2010 - 12:05pm

Edge Hill University

Ethnicity and the Past: Some Insights from Ancient Egypt

Dr Mary Horbury presents a talk on 8th March 2010 at Edge Hill University entitled ‘Ethnicity and the Past: Some Insights from Ancient Egypt’. 

Ancient Egypt is easy to typify as a closed, monolithic state, dominated by a closely-knit ruling elite and therefore of little interest to historians of the post-Enlightenment past. In this paper, Dr Mary Horbury will argue that the processes of discovering the lives of those who lived within the first state in the world are of wider relevance.

First, the concepts of ethnicity and race, as used within contemporary discourse, are discussed and then rejected. Case studies from the historiography of ancient Egypt, from 19th century views of the Copts to contemporary Afrocentrism, are provided to illustrate the way in which using ethnicity as a research tool can actually obscure the past and divide the present.

Finally, freed from the confines of ethnicity, Dr Horbury will provide some insights into the life experiences of those who lived within ancient Egypt from the letters they wrote and from their urban environment.

Mary Horbury studied Egyptology at Oxford University where she gained a First Class degree, and she went on to do an MA and PhD at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.  Her long-term work with refugees has greatly influenced her research. In late 2009, her book Personal Identity and Social Power in New Kingdom and Coptic Egypt was published by Archaeopress.

The seminar takes place in room M46, in the Main Building at the Ormskirk Campus, starting at 12:05pm. For further information on the event, contact James Renton on 01695 584217 or email