Universiteit Leiden

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A cultural biography of Egypt: objects, style and agency

Thursday 21 January 2016 - Friday 22 January 2016
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden

This symposium aims to provide a long term and interdisciplinary perspective on Egypt taking theories on material agency as its main point of departure. The central question this expert meeting aims to address is why, from around 2500 BC onwards, the concept of Egypt and things Egyptian are to be found everywhere in world history and how we can account for their enduring agency over time. We believe Egypt to be a cultural concept but also to consist of objects that have oriented and shaped many processes and events throughout history. It could even be argued that, like China, Egypt is one of the strongest and most enduring of these concepts and forms around. Still, Egypt’s agency is most often described as reception alone and then explained in terms of Egyptomania. This symposium aims to formulate a rather different paradigm and thereby focuses on objects, style and agency.

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