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Kara Cooney - The Woman Who Would be King

Program Date: October 24, 2018

Kara Cooney 04

Egyptologist and associate professor of Egyptian Art speaking on empowered women of the ancient world, Egyptian scholar Kara Cooney shines a spotlight on Hatshepsut, Egypt’s largely overlooked, longest-ruling female pharaoh, who led her country through a period marked by peace, prosperity and architectural achievement.

Kathlyn M. (Kara) Cooney is an Egyptologist, archaeologist, associate professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Language and Cultures at UCLA. As well as for her scholarly work, she is known for hosting television shows on ancient Egypt on the Discovery Channel as well as for writing a popular-press book on the subject. She specializes in craft production, coffin studies, and economies in the ancient world.

Raised in Houston, she obtained her bachelor of arts in German and Humanities from the University of Texas in Austin in 1994. She was awarded a Ph.D. in 2002 by Johns Hopkins University for Near Eastern Studies. She was part of an archaeological team excavating at the artisans' village of Deir el Medina in Egypt, as well as Dahshur and various tombs at Thebes. In 2002 she was Kress Fellow at the National Gallery of Art and worked on the preparation of the Cairo Museum exhibition Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt. After a temporary one-year position at UCLA, she took a three-year postdoctoral teaching position at Stanford University. In 2005, she acted as fellow curator for Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She also worked for two years at the Getty Center before landing a tenure-track position at UCLA in 2009. 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.