MSSU Egypt Semester

Lectures and Presentations

Top

Mysteries of the Great Pyramids: Some Unsolved, Some Solved But Not Forgotten
8:00 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Bill Needle

There were four Pharaohs who built pyramids at Giza, but the second one, Radjadef, rebelled against his father, Khufu, and refused to build his in line with the others. Today, some attention is being paid to this unfinished pyramid. Professor Needle will also talk about the mystery of the pool of water underneath the Great Sphinx and new information regarding whose face is portrayed on the Sphinx.

Top 

The Royal Connections: Six Famous Egyptian Kings and Queens
9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Bill Needle

Professor Needle addresses the most recent discoveries of the true story of the lives and deaths of such kings as Tutankhamun, Ramesses II, Amenhotep III, Akhenaten, and queens such as Nefertiti and Nefertari. There are so many theories about how long King Tut lived and died that the speaker will attempt to reconcile them with the current thoughts of Zahi Hawass and some American Egyptologists. Professor Needle will also discuss the current problems of Egypt trying to reclaim mummies in American museums and the murky methods that dealers of antiquities encounter when they sell or buy Egyptian artifacts.

Top 

The Billionaire’s Curse: James Teackle Dennis, Early American Egyptologist
11:00 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Bill Needle

Being the richest man working with a world famous scholar (Eduoard Naville), making over 200 drawings of tombs, and the shrine finder of the golden calf at the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri is not enough to hold onto your fame. It was his great riches that prevented James Teackle Dennis from receiving the honors and credits that he deserved. Professor Needle’s 30 years of research has helped bring attention to this little-known American Egyptologist from Baltimore. Being married to Ida Dennis, one of the most beautiful women in Baltimore at the turn of the century, provided Dennis access to the rich and famous throughout Europe and Egypt. With James’ and Ida’s personal letters in his possession, Professor Needle has gained valuable insight into their lives and the success he had discovering mummies of kings and translating many artifacts from their tombs. The presentation includes slides from 90 rare photos taken by Dennis in Egypt from 1895 to 1910.

Top 

Revolution and Military Rule in Egypt: Legacies and Prospects
10:00 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Gordon

Egypt, like the rest of the Arab Middle East, has been rocked by popular upheaval and calls for democratic rule. In February 2011 millions of people camped out in downtown Cairo toppled the Mubarak regime that had ruled Egypt for 30 years. What will the future hold for a country ruled, in the wake of a reconstructed political system, by the military? What lessons, positive and negative, might Egyptians learn from an earlier revolution led by military officers in the 1950s, who claimed to speak on behalf of the nation and its desires for massive political and social reform?

Top 

Hollywood on the Nile: Viewing Arab/Egyptian Cinema
12:00 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Gordon

Sitting at the crossroads of Hollywood and Bollywood, the Egyptian film industry has, for a century, captured the hearts and showcased the desires, fantasies, sorrows and joys of the Arabic speaking world. Founded on the studio model, Egypt’s Hollywood on the Nile has mirrored and competed with global trends, yet retained its own vitality and found its own language to engage its audience. A panoramic overview of an all too often isolated film world.

 Top 

The People of Predynastic Hierakonpolis: Life and Death Before Unification
9:00 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Jerry Rose

Ancient Egypt with all of its splendors and accomplishments was produced by unification of the many kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. Hierakonpolis is accredited with being the unifying kingdom; more than a century of excavations have demonstrated that it was a wondrous city in the time before unification. More recently, excavation and analysis of the commoners’ graves and skeletons reveals much about life, death, diet and disease at the dawn of Egyptian civilization. The people of Hierakonpolis are shown to have been sufficiently fit to support the conquest of the Nile. The diet was good, disease was rare and workloads were low.

Top 

The People of Amarna Speak: Akhenaten’s Failed Experiment with Monotheism and a New Capital City
11:00 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Jerry Rose

Akhenaten instituted worship of a single god, the Aten (visible disk of the sun) and then founded a new capital city Akhetaten (known today as Amarna) for the worship of his god. He located it on unused desert land halfway between the traditional administrative capitals of Memphis to the north and Thebes to the south. Although Akhenaten reigned only 17 years, approximately 1353-1336 B.C.E., his impact on Egyptian culture was extensive and stands out as the greatest failed experiment in the almost 2,000 years of Pharaonic rule. Akhenaten described his intentions in two sets of inscriptions carved on 14 known boundary stelae. These repetitive proclamations describe the boundaries of the city, its purpose for worshiping the Aten, his intention to live there and then along with the bodies of his wife and daughters be returned there for burial. He promised that the Aten would provide a good life for all. Excavation and analysis of the graves and skeletons of Amarna’s population between 2005 and 2011 demonstrate that Akhenaten’s god did not provide, and life in his city was one of deprivation and hard work along with the distinct possibly of exposure to epidemic disease.

Top 

The Harry and Berniece Gockel International Symposium
The Changing Nature of America’s Interests in Egypt: Implications for U.S. Policies
9:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011
Taylor Performing Arts Center
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. John Duke Anthony

Any assessment of U.S. national interests in post-Mubarak Egypt must include these and other historical bonds. America’s interests with regard to Egypt are several, ranging from educational ties and defense cooperation to deep and multiple commitments to the country’s economic and social development. The benefits to the United States from Egypt being the site of the American University in Cairo are manifold. More than 90 years old, AUC has increased the yearly number of Americans receiving a first-class education in the Arabic language and Arab as well as Islamic culture from five dozen or so in the 1990s to as many as 1,000 annually in the past decade. In the process, beyond developing the emerging American generation of American leaders who will help to manage the overall Arab-U.S. relationship in the years to come, AUC has simultaneously carved out a special niche in providing a solid grounding in American studies, foreign relations, and international diplomacy for large numbers of future Egyptian leaders.

In addition, the exceptionally close relationship between the American and Egyptian armed forces is approaching its fourth decade. The Egyptian Army’s extensive training and military education in American defense institutes, and the frequency with which it has conducted joint maneuvers with its U.S. counterparts, was cited widely as having helped to minimize the violence associated with the demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square earlier this year. Beyond these building blocks for maintaining, strengthening, and expanding the overall bilateral relationship, the U.S. Department of State’s Agency for International Development has long administered in Egypt one of America’s largest and most multifaceted foreign development programs anywhere. The nature and extent of these interests, while unique to the U.S.-Egypt relationship, are in addition to major U.S. involvement in other issues that are also central to Egypt’s government, economy, and the country’s overall peace and security.

To cite but a few among numerous examples, not just the Egypt and the United States but the entire world benefits from the effectiveness and professionalism of Egypt’s stewardship of the Suez Canal, its having held fast to its 1979 peace treaty with Israel, and its central role in founding and subsequent hosting the headquarters of the world’s oldest regional organization devoted to the peaceful settlement of disputes: the League of Arab States.

Top

The Harry and Berniece Gockel International Symposium
If We Turn Our Backs
7:00 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Mark Long

In February of this year, a Facebook poster wrote, “I will sound like an ugly American here, but I'm going to be honest (and anonymous).Why should I, as an American, give a hoot [about Cairo]?” This presentation will answer Mr. Anonymous by offering a survey of U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East broadly and Egypt specifically, with reference to the Arab Spring. (The Arab Spring refers to the pro-democracy protests and violence sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa.) It will also indicate why Osama bin Laden feared Egypt more than his own death.

Top 

The Harry and Berniece Gockel International Symposium
Egypt in Regional and World Affairs: Dynamics of Convergence and Divergence
Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Speaker: Dr. John Duke Anthony

No effort to try to understand the dynamics and implications events of the past year in the Arab world is likely to succeed without due reference to Egypt. A major reason is that one-third of all Arabs are Egyptian. Another has to do with the responsibility Egypt bears with regard to safe and effective passage through the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most vital maritime arteries. A third reason is linked to Egypt’s position and role in matters pertaining to peace and war in the Middle East. A fourth reason stems from its being home to Al-Azhar University, for centuries one of the most respected institutions skilled in the education and training of Muslim scholars and leaders worldwide. Adding still further weight to Egypt’s influence in the world beyond its borders is Egypt’s outsized role and diplomatic prowess within many of the most prominent international organizations, not least of which is the 22-member League of Arab States, the world’s oldest regional group committed to peacefully resolving interstate disputes. Egypt’s regional and world significance both pre-dates and extends beyond the events in Tahrir Square and the dynamics of transitioning from one governmental and political era to another. Few countries can boast that tens of millions of children all over the world learn about Egypt and the wonders of its Nile River, the ancient pyramids, the Sphinx, and many other monuments as old as recorded history itself. In addressing these and other themes, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Founding President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. John Duke Anthony will try to place the world’s continuing interest in Egypt in its historical and contemporary context whilst examining Egypt’s impact on other countries’ needs, concerns, interests, and key foreign policy objectives.

Top 

The Harry and Berniece Gockel International Symposium
The U.S. and al-Qaida: A Clash of Meta-Narratives
10:00 a.m. Friday, Sept. 23, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Mark Long

This presentation will focus on the rival narratives of the United States and al-Qaida, with special reference to Egypt and the development of a fundamentalist ideology. In particular it will examine the opening of the United States in forming a new sort of “special relationship.”

Top 

Egypt: 7,000 Years of Civilization
11:00 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: LTC Mohamed Nagy Ibrahim

Egypt was the first state, in the full sense of the word, in the history of civilization. As the first state, or country, dating back some 7,000 years, Egypt has had a profound effect on all subsequent states as a result of its scientific and cultural achievements. From a religious perspective, the Holy Koran has honored Egypt and the Prophet Mohamed commended the Egyptians. Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary sought refuge in Egypt when pursued by others seeking to do them harm. Egypt is the land of peace, love and security in all ages.

Top 

January 25, 2011: A New Beginning in Egypt
12:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: LTC Mohamed Nagy Ibrahim

Thousands of Egyptians flocked to the streets on Jan. 25, 2011, to demand their civil, political, and human rights. The revolution that began that day is also known as the “People’s Revolution,” “Lotus Revolution,” or the “White Revolution.” Jan. 25 is the day that many people engaged in movements and demonstrations in order to protest the living conditions as well as the political and economic conditions of Egypt. Many demonstrators were also protesting the corruption under Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The revolution resulted in Mubarak’s loss of power in February 2011.

Top 

Muhammad Ali: Founder of Modern Egypt
9:00 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. John Calvert

This presentation will cover the life and career of Muhammad Ali Pasha (r. 1805-1849), renowned in both Egyptian and Western historiography as the “Founder of Modern Egypt.” The lecture will examine the military origins of the Pasha’s modernization project in addition to the factors that diminished its success, including the intervention of foreign powers. The lecture will conclude with an assessment of Muhammad Ali’s place in 20th century Egyptian historiography. What went wrong? Could Muhammad Ali have succeeded in laying the foundations for a fully developed Egyptian nation?

Top 

The Muslim Brotherhood: Reformers or Radicals?
11:00 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. John Calvert

Recently, much ink has been spilled over the matter of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s and the Arab world’s oldest Islamist movement. Many in the United States and in Egypt fear that the Muslim Brotherhood aims to turn Egypt into a theocracy, violently if needs be. But is this the case? This presentation aims to provide clarity on the topic of the Muslim Brotherhood. After tracing the movement’s origins, ideology, and relationship with Egypt’s various political regimes, the lecture will assess political prospects of the Muslim Brotherhood as Egyptians move toward democracy.

Top 

Tahrir!: Understanding the Egyptian Revolution of 2011
1:00 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. John Calvert

The great demonstrations that rocked Cairo’s Tahrir Square in January and February 2011 took the world by surprise. Yet the Egyptian revolution was long in the making, drawing upon the efforts of a host of youth and workers groups that had been active over the previous decade. This presentation will discuss the roots of Egypt’s current political moment. It will examine the goals of various political factions as they stake out positions and make claims on the country. It will conclude with an assessment of the challenges Egyptians face as they lurch toward political pluralism.

Top 

Cleopatra in the Theatre
9:00 a.m. Monday, October 10, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Jim Lile

Cleopatra VII, the last of the pharaohs of Egypt, continues to exert an influence on our popular culture. We think of her as exotic and ambitious; beautiful and ruthless. In some instances, what history has failed to preserve, legend has supplied. Cleopatra has been the subject of novels, films, operas, and plays. Dr. Jim Lile guides us through three important dramas that have Cleopatra at their centers – Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, All For Love by John Dryden, and George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra – to discover and examine the theatrical uses to which her life and legend have been put. What can we learn about Cleopatra from these plays?

Top 

The Bedouin of Egypt
9:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Joe Hobbs

One of the world’s earliest and most accomplished civilizations arose and flourished on the banks of the Nile. Egyptians and the Nile are practically synonymous. But there is another culture that thrived long before the time of the Pharaohs and continues today, far from the banks of the Nile: the Bedouin of Egypt’s desert wilderness. We will see how these adaptable people have made a living as nomadic pastoralists, hunters and gatherers, and how their ancient way of life is undergoing unprecedented change.

Top 

Natural Marvels of Egypt’s Deserts
11:00 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Dr. Joe Hobbs

What was the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth? You may have heard this: 136 degrees in the eastern Sahara of Libya, not far from Egypt. But that is 136 degrees in the shade! The plants and animals of Egypt’s deserts have to cope with surface temperatures approaching 200 degrees. We will look at how wild mammals, reptiles, birds, plants and trees and the remarkable camel survive and prosper in one of the most challenging environments on our planet.

Top 

The Heartbeat of Egypt
12:00-2:00 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011
Phinney Recital Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Gamal Gomaa

Egyptian percussionist Gamal Gomaa will present a master class, instructing students on techniques used in traditional Egyptian rhythms such as the Malfoof, Saidi, Haggalla, Fallihi, Maksoum, and variations of each rhythm. He will describe the history of the rhythms, explaining the region of Egypt where the each rhythm comes from. Students will learn proper timing of the beats and table-playing techniques to ensure optimal sound is emitted from the tabla. Gamal Gomaa will also review ergonomic positioning of the tabla along with safe drumming techniques including proper hand position, coordination and body posture to protect the drummer from injury.

Top 

Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff
9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Rosemary Mahoney

Author Rosemary Mahoney will recount her personal experiences rowing a small boat alone some 125 miles down the Egyptian Nile and talk about the lives and aspirations of some of the Egyptians she befriended along the way. As a woman traveling alone in Egypt in an unconventional way, she encountered many frustrating difficulties, got an intimate glimpse of daily life in Egypt, and learned a great deal about Islamic perceptions and beliefs. She also discovered surprising and sometimes unexpected cultural differences between the West and the Arab world. She will present a slideshow along with her discussion.

Top 

From Napoleon to Now: The Tradition of Foreign Travelers in Egypt
7:00 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Rosemary Mahoney

Between 646 and 1517 AD the Islamic rulers of Egypt closed the country to virtually all outsiders. To the average European, Egypt was as arcane and mysterious as the moon. Not until Napoleon’s 1798 invasion of Egypt did the rest of the world begin to discover that the Egypt was full of ancient wonders and unusual customs. Before long, curious foreigners − including a long list of notables such as Florence Nightingale, Gustave Flaubert, and Winston Churchill − began flocking to Egypt in droves. Gradually, travel on the Nile became a grand international tradition and an industry upon which Egypt is now heavily dependent. Egyptian attitudes toward foreigners have been heavily influenced by this tradition of tourism. Author Rosemary Mahoney will discuss this phenomenon, how foreign travel in Egypt has changed over the centuries (including the recent rise of sex tourism there), and will also address how future political developments in post-revolution Egypt might affect the tradition of foreign visitors there.

Top 

Gender Attitudes and Religious Mores in Egyptian Society
10:00 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011
Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall
Admission: free
Speaker: Rosemary Mahoney

Like many Muslim countries, Egypt is a country that follows strict religious laws and taboos. Alcohol consumption, nudity, public displays of affection between men and women, including hand-holding, are frowned upon, as are homosexuality and sex before marriage. For an unmarried woman, chastity is of the utmost importance, and the consequences of sexual activity before marriage can be dire. The lives of women are circumscribed, and in rural areas women are chiefly confined to the home. Boys are considered more important than girls, and men have a much higher rate of literacy in Egypt than women. Although the status of women in Egypt is improving, Egyptian women have long been powerless under the command of their male counterparts. Author Rosemary Mahoney will discuss the gender disparity in Egypt, sexual attitudes, and the moral attitudes of Egyptians toward foreigners, including the surprising attitudes of Egyptian men toward foreign women. She will also discuss the ways in which moral attitudes in Egypt have changed over the past hundred years and the ways in which they might change in the future.

Top 

Book Signings and Q&A with Rosemary Mahoney
11:00-11:30 a.m. and 1:00-2:00 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011
8:30-9:45 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011
Third floor of Spiva Library (by the fireplace)
Admission: free

Author Rosemary Mahoney will sign copies of her Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff and answer your questions in these informal sessions.

Top 

©