The Good Kings
Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World
Dr. Kara Cooney returns to discuss her new and provocative book The Good Kings: Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World. The book covers five Egyptian pharaohs – or kings, if you will – and discusses the concepts surrounding power: how is it earned, who controls it, and why the many often give up power to the few. Oh… and does any of that correlate to our modern life?
Dr. Cooney tells us how authoritarianism starts, how that power is maintained, and if she is seeing signs of it in the world today. Plus what people gain from aligning with corrupt people in power and why cognitive dissonance is important to allow corrupt leadership to continue.
We also discuss how in the past women had equal power to men in some areas (would you believe Los Angeles, 300 years ago?!) And why we are starting to ask what is power, what is value, and why is there so much sexual abuse.
So. Much. Fascinating. Conversation. Dr. Cooney will give you lots to think about, I promise.
Click on the player below to hear the chat with Kara Cooney and Pam
About Kara Cooney
Dr. Kathlyn (Kara) Cooney is a professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA. Specializing in craft production, coffin studies, and economies in the ancient world, 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. Cooney produced a comparative archaeology television series, entitled Out of Egypt, which aired in 2009 on the Discovery Channel and is available online via Netflix and Amazon.
Her latest book, The Good Kings: Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World, Kara turns to five ancient Egyptian pharaohs–Khufu, Senwosret III, Akenhaten, Ramses II, and Taharqa–to understand why many so often give up power to the few, and what it can mean for our future. Published by National Geographic Press, this book will be released in late 2021.
Her book When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt explores the lives of six remarkable female pharaohs, from Hatshepsut to Cleopatra, and shines a light on our own perceptions of women in power today. Published by National Geographic Press, the book was released in 2018.
The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt was Cooney’s first trade book, and it benefits from her immense knowledge of 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, Cooney draws from the latest field research to fill in the gaps in the physical record of Hatshepsut. Published by Crown Publishing Group, the book was released in 2014.
Cooney’s current research in coffin reuse, primarily focusing on the 21st Dynasty, 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 more than 300 coffins in collections, including those in Cairo, London, Paris, Berlin, and Vatican City.
She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband Remy Hiramoto.