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Egypt’s encounter with the West: Race, Culture and Identity

COONEY, WILLIAM (2011) Egypt’s encounter with the West: Race, Culture and Identity. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The present study is an investigation into the processes involved in interpreting ethnic identity in the ancient world. Specifically, it focuses on the various “Libyan” groups currently found in Egyptological literature who are attested in ancient Egyptian sources from the dawn of Egyptian civilization.

Set within the broader theoretical discussion of identifying social and cultural differentiation in the ancient world, this thesis will explore the manner in which the identity of “Libyan” groups has been interpreted by modern scholars; the way in which the ancient Egyptians interpreted the identity of these groups; and the degree to which self-expressed “Libyan” identity is still visible in the iconographic, epigraphic and archaeological records of ancient Egypt.

Historically, this thesis will trace the interaction which the ancient Egyptians alone record between themselves and the various groups currently aggregated under the term “Libyan.” Through art, text and archaeology, this thesis will outline this interaction from the earliest appearance of these groups in Egyptian records in the Fourth Millennium BC, through the resettlement of some of these groups in Egypt during the Twelfth Century BC and continued references to these groups living in diaspora within Egypt during the first half of the First Millennium BC.

Following a strict methodological approach which emphasizes chronology and context as key factors in understanding ancient ethnic groups, this thesis will explore how the projections of internal group identities evolve over time and the manner in which these identities have been observed by both ancient (Egyptian) and modern (Egyptological) outsiders.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Ancient Egypt (3000 - 664 BC); Libyans; Ethnicity; Identity; History of Egyptology; Egyptian Archaeology
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:27 Jun 2011 16:07

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