Kate Liszka is an Egyptologist and archaeologist who specializes in the study of identity and ethnicity in antiquity, and the interactions between ancient Egypt and Nubia. Specifically, she studies a dynamic group of people from Egypt and Sudan, whom the ancient Egyptians referred to as the Medjay. In some sources, the Medjay appear to be a group of Nubian pastoral nomads, many of whom worked as itinerant laborers in Egypt, while in others the word “Medjay” refers to an elite group of Egyptian desert policemen. Liszka has studied how this change from ethnicity to occupation may have occurred over time. The results of her research will be published in Brill’s series Probleme der Ägyptologie. Additionally, she studies the Pangrave archaeological culture, an archaeologically documented group of Nubians who are attested in Egypt as mercenaries during a time of war.
Liszka regularly presents at national and international conferences, and she has given numerous lectures for local chapters of the American Research Center in Egypt and the Archaeological Institute of America. She works on several archaeological excavations in Egypt, and is Princeton University’s representative for the American Research Center in Egypt.
At Princeton, Liszka is a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and is a faculty fellow at Mathey College. She co-organized a workshop on archaeology and pedagogy for the Center for Hellenic Studies. She is the faculty mentor for the Edward’s Collective at Mathey College. Last year, she received a grant from the Council of the Humanities’s David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project for work in Egypt. In summer 2013, she received the Mellon Faculty Award from the Princeton University Art Museum to support her study of the scarab-amulets in the museum’s collections and incorporate them into her class “Ancient Egyptian Archaeology.”
Liszka teaches a wide range of courses on ancient Egypt and Nubia, including ancient Egyptian art, ancient Egyptian archaeology, Egypt and Nubia, etc. Additionally, she teaches courses on identity and ethnicity in antiquity. This includes a course entitled, “Understanding the ‘Barbarians’,” which looks at how archaeologists, art historians, and historians have understood the peoples on the periphery of the ancient world.
Liszka is currently revising her dissertation on the Medjay and the Pangrave as a monograph for Brill’s series Probleme der Ägyptologie. Additionally, she is jointly editing for publication texts from the British Museum that furnish important evidence about the administration of Nubia during the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (ca. 1800–1650 BCE). With the help of students from her class “Ancient Egyptian Archaeology” and the support of the Mellon Fund, she has initiated a study of over 100 scarab-amulets in the collection of the Princeton University Art Museum.
From Pastoral Nomads to Policemen: The Evolution and Role of the Medjay in Ancient Egypt and Nubia, c. 2300 to 1250 BCE, Probleme der Ägyptologie (Brill, forthcoming)
“‘We have come from the Well of Ibhet’: Ethnogenesis of the Medjay,” Journal of Egyptian History 4:2 (2011)
“‘Medjay’ (no. 188) in the Onomasticon of Amenemope,” in Millions of Jubilees: Studies in Honor of David P. Silverman, ed. Zahi Hawass and Jennifer Houser Wegner (Conseil Suprême des Antiquités de l’Égypte, 2010)
“Water Basins in Middle Kingdom Planned Settlements,” in Current Research in Egyptology 2008: Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Symposium, University of Manchester, ed. Vicky Gashe and Jacky Finch (Rutherford Press, 2008)
“Tracing Stylistic Changes within ‘Coronation Scenes,’” in Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Egyptologists, ed. Jean Claude Goyon and Christine Cardin (Peeters, 2007).