Kara Cooney: Making the Ancient Engaging

Kara Cooney

Egyptologist Kara Cooney makes dusty old topics fun.

An associate professor at UCLA’s Near Eastern Languages and Cultures program, she’s a great mix of engaging speaker and public intellectual. My talk with her was one of most fun and smartest I’ve done this year.  For this, all credit to Dr. Cooney as  I felt like my questions veered toward the “Whoa, you really stood in a tomb with a pile of 3000-year-old corpses?” and “Dude, just how dry is Egypt?” variety.

Ok, maybe not quite that bad, but she is whip smart and knows her subject. She also has a passion for it and really seems to enjoy it, a quality I’ve sometimes found lacking in academics. [Early on, one of the worst interviews I ever did was with an academic who couldn’t give a single reason for why he’d entered the field and seemed unwilling to speak about the subject at all. You should probably leave the field at that point.]

But back to Kara, check out our YouTube interview or the audio-only version, and then buy her book, The Woman Who Would Be King, about ancient Egyptian ruler Hatshepsut. It will make a great birthday present for that hard-to-buy-for relative who watches the History Channel and PBS.

My gratitude to Ohio State’s Timothy Gregory in the Ohio State Museum of Classical Archeology for opening the museum after hours for this interview. Dr. Gregory is another of my favorite academics!

And yes, giving the location for this interview exposes the lie that is my usual opening to Craft, “From a secret location in room 100 of 540 Jack Gibbs Boulevard.” WCBE is located at 540 Jack Gibbs, but I don’t think it has a room 100.


About Doug Dangler

Current: Host of Craft on WCBE, 90.5 FM, central Ohio's NPR station. Former: creator, host, and producer of Writers Talk
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