CSUSB welcomes W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence
Office of Strategic Communication
Tara Prakash, an assistant professor of ancient art at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, is the W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence at Cal State San Bernardino for fall quarter.
Prakash is the second Harer Scholar in Residence that CSUSB has had; the first was Jessica Tomkins last 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 to 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.
Prakash earned her master’s and Ph.D. in ancient Egyptian art history and archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and her bachelor’s in art history and African and African diaspora studies from Tulane University. She has held postdoctoral fellowships in the Egyptian Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Near Eastern Studies Department at Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on issues of ethnicity and identity, foreign interactions, artistic agency, and the visualization of pain and emotion in ancient Egypt.
At CSUSB, Prakash is teaching the course for both the departments of history and anthropology titled, “Gods, Kings, and Demons: Religion and Ritual in Ancient Egypt,” which critically considers the role of religion and ritual in ancient Egypt, and questions how much religion and ritual actually influenced the lives of different Egyptians.
“Dr. Prakash’s perspectives on Ancient Egyptian spirituality connected past religion with the present, making ancient practice come to life,” said James Martin, senior history major.
This course aligns with the book chapter that Prakash is currently writing and is designed to make use of RAFFMA’s Egyptian art collection.
Additionally, she will present a lecture for the campus and community at RAFFMA on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 6-8 p.m. Her talk, “A Hero among Cowards: Ramses II and the Battle of Kadesh,” will consider how the ancient Egyptian artists portrayed the foreign enemies of King Ramses II in a series of temple depictions that record the epic battle that this king fought against the Hittite Empire in the late second millennium B.C.E.
“Dr. Prakash is a distinguished scholar and excellent teacher. Students are thrilled to be able to take courses that incorporate both hands-on learning with objects at RAFFMA as well as multi-disciplinary perspectives to learn about religious practice in the past,” said Kate Liszka, CSUSB’s Benson and Pamela Harer Fellow in Egyptology, and assistant professor of history. “We are so happy to have her as the W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence. She is positively contributing to many different aspects of this university and larger community.”
To learn more about the W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence program, visit the CSUSB Department of History’s website.