CSUSB selects its first W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence
Office of Strategic Communication
Jessica Tomkins, who earned her doctorate in Egyptology from Brown University last year, was selected to be Cal State San Bernardino’s inaugural W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence for winter quarter.
The W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence brings one of the world’s preeminent experts in the field to the university, serving as a part-time (single quarter) visiting faculty member in the history department of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The scholar also serves as the center of a public event at the university’s Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA). Dr. Benson Harer, a longtime supporter of CSUSB and RAFFMA, endowed CSUSB with this annual position.
At CSUSB, Tomkins teaches the course “Ancient Egyptian History: Origins to 1700 BCE,” which explores the Egyptian Old Kingdom, the era of pyramids and god-kings. As a specialist in this period, she focuses on the political intricacies of the state and the fight for power between the king and his courtiers throughout Egypt.
Tomkins will host Ancient Egypt Family Day at RAFFMA, a free event based around the Egyptian afterlife, on Saturday, March 9, from 2-4:30 p.m. The event will begin with a tour of the Egyptian gallery by Tomkins, followed by an afternoon of family activities where visitors can make and design various elements of their own ancient Egyptian burial.
In addition to her doctorate in Egyptology, Tomkins holds a Master of Studies in Ancient Greek History from the University of Oxford, and a bachelor’s degree in Ancient History and Egyptology from University College London.
Tomkins has previously worked at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Mass., as the Terrace Research Associate in Egyptian Art, and also has experience at the British Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She has published her research on the local governors of Old Kingdom Egypt in the prestigious Egyptology journal Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde and has previously given invited lectures throughout California and New England.
She will speak at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana on March 2 about her current research project, “Was the Old Kingdom a Segmented State?”
“Tomkins is an amazing addition to the CSUSB faculty for winter 2019. Tomkins is helping to expand the study of Ancient Egypt in a meaningful way to both CSUSB students and the greater Inland Empire,” said Kate Liszka, the CSUSB Benson and Pamela Harer Fellow, and assistant professor of history. “We are fortunate that Dr. Harer endowed this position indefinitely. So be on the lookout for our next W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence in fall 2019.”
To learn more about the W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence program, visit the CSUSB Department of History’s website.