Ellen Morris

Assistant Professor

Ellen Morris has published extensively on issues pertinent to ancient Egyptian imperialism. Her first book is entitled The Architecture of Imperialism: Military Bases and the Evolution of Foreign Policy in Egypt’s New Kingdom (Brill, 2005), and she is currently in the process of finishing a book entitled Egyptian Imperialism (under contract to Blackwell Press). Her ongoing research interests and other publications focus on the dynamics of political fragmentation, state formation, sexuality and sacred performance, retainer sacrifice, and divine kingship. She has excavated in the Nile Valley at Abydos and Mendes, and at the site of Amheida in the Dakhleh Oasis. Morris did her graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania and earned her B.A. from Barnard College in Ancient Studies.

Academic Focus: 

Imperialism in Egypt and the ancient Near East

Social history of ancient Egypt

Sexuality, power, and performance

Political fragmentation


Professor Morris teaches lecture courses on the archaeology and society of ancient Egypt (Identity and Society in Ancient Egypt, The Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, Egypt in the Classical World). She teaches a seminar on cities in the ancient Near East and greater Mediterranean world as well as a First Year Seminar entitled On Dreams and Nightmares. She plans in the future to offer a year long course in Middle Egyptian (hieroglyphs).


Recent publications:

2011 Priestesses, paddle dolls, and performance in Ancient Egypt. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 47: 71-103.

2010a Insularity and island identity in the oases bordering Egypt’s Great Sand Sea. In Thebes and Beyond: Studies in Honour of Kent R. Weeks, ed. Zahi Hawass and Salima Ikram. Cairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities Press, pp. 129-144.

2010b The pharaoh and pharaonic office. In The Blackwell Companion to Ancient Egypt, ed. A.B. Lloyd. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 201-217.

2010c Opportunism in contested lands, B.C. and A.D. Or how Abdi-Ashirta, Aziru, and Padsha Khan Zadran got away with murder. Millions of Jubilees: Studies in Honor of David Silverman, vol. I, ed. Zahi Hawass and Jennifer Houser Wegner. Cairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities Press, pp. 413-438.

2007a Sacred and obscene laughter in The Contendings of Horus and Seth, in Egyptian inversions of everyday life, and in the context of cultic competition. In Egyptian Stories: A British Egyptological Tribute to Alan B. Lloyd, ed. Thomas Schneider and Kasia Szpakowska. Alter Orient und Altes Testament Series. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, pp. 197-224.

2007b On the ownership of the Saqqara mastabas and the allotment of political and ideological power at the dawn of the state. In The Archaeology and Art of Ancient Egypt: Essays in Honor of David B. O’Connor, vol. II, ed. Zahi Hawass and Janet Richards. Cairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities Press, pp. 171-190.

2007c Sacrifice for the state: royal funerals and the rites at Macramallah’s Rectangle. In Performing Death. Social Analyses of Ancient Funerary Traditions in the Mediterranean, ed. Nicola Laneri. Chicago: Oriental Institute, pp. 15-37.

2006a Lo, nobles lament, the poor rejoice. Social order inverted in First Intermediate Period Egypt. In After Collapse: The Regeneration of Complex Societies, ed. Glenn Schwartz and John Nichols. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, pp. 58-71.

2006b Bowing and scraping in the Ancient Near East: an investigation into obsequiousness in the Amarna Letters. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 65: 179-195.

2005 The Architecture of Imperialism: Military Bases and the Evolution of Foreign Policy in Egypt’s New Kingdom. Probleme der Ägyptologie 22. Leiden: E.J. Brill.

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