Tubman Talks: “Portraits of a Lady: Complicating Characterizations of Women in Ancient Egypt” — 13 April, 2017

Dr. Jean Li will present a paper entitled, Portraits of a Lady: Complicating Characterizations of Women in Ancient Egypt,” on April 13, 2017 at the Harriet Tubman Institute from 2:30 – 4:00.


Stela of the Lady of the House, Tabiemmut Ca. 750-525 BCE

Normative portrayals of ancient Egyptian women tend to emphasize their subordinate social position through their dependency on male relatives for status and identity. Archaeologically, this characterization is reinforced by the general practice of women sharing the tombs of men as the secondary occupant. The mortuary archaeology of women in the first millennium BCE, however, displays an increased presence of women and nuances of identity expression. With the 8th-6th centuries as a starting point, I will review also some evidence of female assertions of independent status throughout Egyptian history. The synchronic explorations of textual and archaeological evidence complicate the picture of female identity and status in Pharaonic Egypt.


Dr. Jean Li is Assistant Professor of History at Ryerson University.  Her research on the mortuary practices of elite women in ancient Egypt during the first millennium BCE was recently published in her monograph: Women, Gender and Identity in Third Intermediate Period Egypt: the Theban Case Study. Relying on primarily archaeological evidence, her work complicates the traditional depiction of Egyptian women as deriving their identities primarily in relation to men. Her current project involves an exploration of the use of robots in archaeological exploration.

Posted in Events, Tubman Talks.