Belgian expansionism and the making of Egyptology, 1830-1952

International Symposium

The international symposium 'Pyramids and Progress: Perspectives on the Entanglement of Imperialisms and Early Egyptology (1800–1950)' will be held in Leuven & Brussels (Belgium) on 8–10 November 2021.

The programme of the conference can be downloaded here: 2021-11-8_10_Symposium_Programme.pdf

The abstracts can be downloaded here: 2021-11-8_10_Symposium_Abstracts.pdf

Since we fully understand the current restraints on international travelling we are proud to announce we will provide a livestream free of charge. More details will follow in the days and weeks ahead of the conference.

Registration Procedure

There is a registration fee of €50 (€25 for students with valid student card) for live participation in the symposium. Payments can be made either by bank transfer or by credit card, and should be made at the latest by 1 November 2021.

1) Make your payment 
2) Send an email to mentioning your name and bank account number
3) You will receive a confirmation of your registration


Monday 8 November 2021

Venue: College De Valk, aula Zeger Van Hee (hall 91.56), Tiensestraat 41, 3000 Leuven.

9.00–9.30am        Opening speeches (all times are indicated in CET)

9.30–9.55am Rachel Mairs: “Il me dit toujours Ebni (mon fils)”: Don Raphael de Monachis and Champollion
9.55–10.20am Fatma Keshk: National Duties and Avid Scholarship: Ancient Egypt in the career of Refaa al-Tahtawi (1801–1873)
10.20–10.45am Blaž Zabel & Jan Ciglenečki: Austro-Hungarian Egyptology in the context of imperial foreign politics: The case of three consuls and collectors of Egyptian antiquities from Slovenia
10.45–11.10am Houssine Alloul: Becoming “Emperor of the Orient”: Leopold II, colonialism and the Ottoman Mediterranean

11.10–11.30am Coffee break

11.30–11.55am Sandra Veprauskiene: 1861–1862 Archaeological endeavour of Count Michał Tyszkiewicz up the Nile river
11.55am–12.20pm Miguel Á. Molinero Polo: Diplomacy and Egyptology in the 1880s: The perspective of the Spanish Vice Consul Eduard Toda i Güell
12.20–12.45pm Ryan Nutting: “I…secured some interesting and genuine Egyptian relics for the museum at Forest Hill”: Frederick Horniman’s collecting and interpretation of Egypt in the late nineteenth century

12.45–2.15pm Lunch break

2.15–2.40pm Athena Van der Perre: Jean Capart and the quest for Nubia
2.40–3.05pm Cynthia May Sheikholeslami: J. Morton Howell and American diplomacy and archaeology in the 1920s
3.05–3.30pm Annelies van de Ven: Self, state and science: Exploring the tensions of a mid-20th century Coptologist in the Doresse archives

3.30–3.55pm Katherine Blouin: ‘Marbre blanc sur un sol blanc’: Alexandria’s foundation story as colonial fantasy

3.55–4.10pm Coffee break

4.10–4.35pm Heba Abd el-Gawad & Alice Stevenson: Collecting Egypt: Centring Egyptian communities within colonial practices and legacies of British archaeology
4.35–5.00pm Wendy Doyon: What imperialism does & does not tell us about the history of Egyptology: The case for Egypt’s political economy as a research lens

Keynote speech
5.00–6.00pm Donald M. Reid: Egyptology, empire, and nation through Egyptian eyes: Shaykh Rifa‘a al-Tahtawi, Ahmad Pasha Kamal, and Labib Habachi, 1826–1984

6.00pm Reception

Tuesday 9 November 2021

Venue: College De Valk, aula Zeger Van Hee (hall 91.56), Tiensestraat 41, 3000 Leuven.

9.00–9.25am Uroš Matić: The Hamitic question: Egyptology and scientific racism at the forefront of imperial politics
9.25–9.50am Emmet Jackson: An’other’ other: Ireland and Egypt
9.50–10.15am Thomas L. Gertzen: Empires of mind? Self-reflection of German Egyptologists in the historiography of ancient Egypt
10.15–10.40am Stuart Mathieson: Empire, Egypt, and Exodus: British science and religion in the late 19th and early 20th century Near East

10.40–11.00am Coffee break

11.00–11.25am Jan Vandersmissen & Christophe Verbruggen: Belgian literary cosmopolitanism in Egypt, 1900–1930
11.25–11.50am Vincent Oeters: From ‘primitive’ to ‘perfect’: The influence of Victorian evolutionism on Jean Capart (1896–1914)

11.50am–12.15pm Cristina Pallini: Italian up-and-coming professionals at the court of Mohamed Ali
12.15–12.40pm Gert Huskens: Beyond the “Place des Consuls”: Network analysis and the foreign diplomatic corpses in Egypt ca. 1800–1914

12.40–2.10pm Lunch break

2.10–2.35pm Peter Der Manuelian: Decolonizing the tomb of Queen Meresankh at Giza 
2.35–3.00pm Margaret Maitland: ‘Expert investigators’: Uncovering unacknowledged Egyptian contributions to archaeology in 19th century archives
3.00–3.25pm Félix Relats Montserrat: Imperialism in the field? Diplomatic relations and interactions around the French excavations in Médamoud (1925–1940)
3.25–3.50pm Adam C. Hill: Building “intellectual bases”: British Egyptology, imperial politics, and the Second World War

3.50–4.30pm Coffee break
4.30–4.55pm Sarah Ketchley: Investigating nineteenth century Nile networks: The diaries of Mrs. Emma B. Andrews

Keynote speech
4.55–5.55pm Hana Navrátilová: Černý, Czechoslovakia, and ostraca: A transnational story 

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Venue: Royal Museums of Art and History, Auditorium, Jubelpark 10, 1000 Brussels

9.00–9.25am Dina Ishak Bakhoum: The relevance of the actions and actors of the Comité de Conservation des Monuments de l’Art Arabe to the discipline of Egyptology
9.25–9.50am Ian Oswald Trumble: Cotton bales to canopic jars: Agency in Egyptology through the commercial activities of Barlow & Jones, Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers Ltd Manchester and Bolton, England
9.50–10.15am Harco Willems: Egyptology and sugar cane: The involvement of western entrepreneurs in Egyptology in the Mallawī region in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
10.15–10.40am Carole Jarsaillon: The meeting reports of the Service of Egyptian Antiquities: The diplomatic stakes of managing archaeology in Egypt (1914–1936)

10.40–11.00am Coffee break

Keynote speech
11.00am–12.00pm Floris Solleveld: Egyptology and the expansion of world history: Exploration and historical comparison in the network of Baron Bunsen

12.00–12.15pm Discussion and Closure
12.15–1.45pm Lunch Break
1.45–5.00pm Excursion: Visit of the collection of the Royal Museums of Art and History and of the Egyptological archives. 

Symposium program1

Symposium program2

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