Moving beyond national narratives: the EES Committee Minutes.
William Carruthers, a recipient of the Society's Centenary Award in 2009-10 and a regular visitor to the Society's archives, is now pursuing doctoral research into the history of Egyptology in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. Here, Will explains how the records of EES Committee meetings can reveal the influence of certain individuals and institutions on the development of our subject.
Histories of Egyptology can suffer from their narrowness. Whilst not always true, it is simple to find Egyptological histories at the national level, or ‘heroic’ biographies of prominent figures in national Egyptological discourses. In the history of British Egyptology, for example, Petrie is often seen as a heroic British figure. My research seeks to move beyond such narratives. Whilst I am looking at certain prominent figures – Walter Bryan Emery (1903-1971), at one time the EES’ Field Director and a so-called ‘giant’ of British Egyptology, amongst them – it is clear that their careers are not simply embedded in national contexts.
With my favourite photo of Petrie :-)