This course is an essential primer in ancient Egyptian civilization and culture, including the accuracy of current popular perceptions of ancient Egypt, as well as its legacy and impact on the modern world. Using ancient Egyptian texts and material culture as a basis, this course surveys the political and social history of ancient Egypt from the Neolithic to Alexander the Great (7000-332 BC). Topics include: anthropological origins and ethnicities, political and historical development, geography, social institutions, status of women, religion and magic, daily life activities, language and writing and more. The class will also consider how the modern west interprets Egypt as a major contributor to the development of western civilization, viewing itself in many ways as a legitimate heir of Egyptian culture, and yet at the same time, it categorizes much of it as culturally alien and otherly.
This course can also be applied to credits in the Classics major and to minors in African Studies and Archaeology.