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Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
Sobekneferu ascended the Egyptian throne near the end of the twelfth dynasty. She was not only the first female king but also the first royal woman for whom we have evidence of cross-dressing. From the record she has left us it is clear that the gender incongruent imagery associated with Egyptian creator deities established a foundation for her composite imagery. Sobekneferu embraced masculine poses in her statues, masculine titles and grammatical endings in her inscriptions, and on her Louvre statue she adopted masculine dress. This paper illustrates how her multiply gendered works were inspired by well-entrenched ideas organic to Egypt, how her self-styled image was based on historic prototypes, and how her transgression of social gender boundaries was sanctioned by society.
Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:
Callender, V. G. 1998a. Materials for the Reign of Sebekneferu. Pp. 227-236, in Proceedings of the Seventh International congress of Egyptologist, Cambridge, 3-9 September 1995, ed. Christopher Eyre. Leuven: Peeters.
———. 1998b. What sex was King Sobekneferu and what is known about her reign? Kmt: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt 9, 1: 45-56.
Simini, Valerio. 2017. Cross-Dressing and the Sexual Symbolism of the Divine Sphere in Pharaonic Egypt. Pp. 85-98, in TransAntiquity: Cross-Dressing and Transgender Dynamics in the Ancient World, eds. Domitilla Campanile, Filippo Carlà-Uhink, and Margherita Facella. Routledge: London/New York.
Sweeney, Deborah. 2011. Sex and Gender. Pp. 1–14 in UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, eds. W. Wendrich, et al. Los Angeles. https://escholarship.org/uc/item/3rv0t4np.