Newmark Theatre

National Geographic Live: When Women Ruled the World

When it comes to women in power, we’ve come a long way…right? Join Dr. Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptology, for a look at a time in ancient history when women ruled the world. Often neglected in the history books, these women were considered exceptions to the rule, political pawns in a patriarchal society. But their power and influence is undeniable. Cleopatra used her sexuality—and her money—to build alliances with warlords of the Roman empire. Neferusobek was the first woman to definitively take the title of King. Nefertiti is known more for her beauty than for bringing a fractured Egypt together. What can we learn from how these women ruled? Dr. Cooney shares some illuminating answers.

This talk is part of the National Geographic Live 2022/23 Portland Speaker Series.

Kara Cooney, Egyptologist

Dr. Kara Cooney is a professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA. Specializing in craft production, coffin studies, and economies in the ancient world, Dr. Cooney received her PhD in Egyptology from Johns Hopkins University. In 2005, she was co-curator of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Dr. Cooney produced a comparative archaeology television series, entitled Out of Egypt, which aired in 2009 and is available online via Netflix and Amazon.

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt, Dr. Cooney’s first trade book, was released in 2014 and benefits from her expert perspective on Egypt’s ancient history to craft an illuminating biography of its least well-known female king. As an archaeologist who spent years at various excavations in Egypt, Dr. Cooney draws from the latest field research to fill in the gaps in the historical record of Hatshepsut. Her book When Women Ruled the World was published in 2018 by National Geographic and explores the reigns of six powerful ancient Egyptian queens and how they changed our perceptions of power. Her latest book, The Good Kings: Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World, was published by National Geographic in late 2021.

Dr. Cooney’s current research in coffin reuse, primarily focusing on the 19th and 21st Dynasties, is ongoing. Her research investigates the socioeconomic and political turmoil that have plagued the period, ultimately affecting funerary and burial practices in ancient Egypt. This project has taken her around the world over the span of five to six years to study and document nearly 300 coffins in collections, including those in Cairo, London, Paris, Berlin, and Vatican City.

ABOUT NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LIVE

National Geographic Live brings to life the remarkable stories of National Geographic Explorers through in-person live events. Its broad roster of speakers, including renowned photographers, scientists, filmmakers, and adventurers, shares their behind-the-scenes stories from the front lines of exploration—alongside unforgettable imagery and gripping footage—with audiences in performing arts centers throughout North America and abroad. For more information, visit natgeolive.com.

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