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Gerda Henkel Research Fellowship

Dr William Carruthers

William Carruthers joined the GHIL as a Visiting Guest Fellow in January 2016 in order to undertake research for a Gerda Henkel Stiftung Postdoctoral Research Scholarship. He studied History and Philosophy of Science (PhD, 2014) at the University of Cambridge and Archaeology (BA and MA) at University College London, and previously held a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of History and Civilization at the European University Institute, Florence. His current research concerns decolonisation, its relationship with the past, and the history of archaeological fieldwork in Egypt, Sudan and India.

Email: carruthers(ghi)

Web: //


Research Interests

History of science and technology (particularly the field sciences and archaeology); history of colonialism, decolonisation and the Cold War; history of heritage and ‘the past’; global history (particularly the Middle East and South Asia)

Current Research

Archaeology, Nasser’s Egypt and the Making of the Post-War Past

Academic Background
2016- Gerda Henkel Stiftung Postdoctoral Research Scholarship
3–5/2016 Postdoctoral Fellow, M. S. Merian-R. Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, New Delhi
2014–2015 Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History and Civilization, European University Institute, Florence (funded by European Commission)
2014 PhD History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge (funded by UK Arts and Humanities Research Council)
2011–2012 Fellowship Without Stipend, Department of History, American University in Cairo
2009 MA Research Methods for Archaeology, University College London (with distinction and winner of Margaret Murray prize in Egyptology)
2006 BA Egyptian Archaeology, University College London (with first class honours and citation on UCL Dean’s List)

Recent Publications

Edited Volumes and Journal Issues
2017: "Disassembling Archeology, Reassembling the Modern World". Special issue of the journal History of Science edited with Stéphane Van Damme of the Department of History and Civilization, European University Institute, Florence. Available at:

2014: Histories of Egyptology: Interdisciplinary Measures. New York: Routledge.
For more information, see:

2017a: "Rule of Objects: On the De-Peopling of Safe Havens". Review of Middle East Studies roundtable section on "Alternative Preservation Practices". Available at:

2017b (with Stéphane Van Damme): "Disassembling Archeology, Reassembling the Modern World". History of Science 55 (3), 255-272, online at:

2017c: "Visualizing a Monumental Past: Archeology, Nasser's Egypt, and the Early Cold War". History of Science 55 (3), 273-301, online at:

2016: "Multilateral Possibilities: Decolonization, Preservation and the Case of Egypt". Future Anterior 13 (1), 37–48. Available at:

2015a: "Grounding Ideologies: Archaeology, Decolonization and the Cold War in Egypt", in Elisabeth Leake and Leslie James (eds) Decolonization and the Cold War: Negotiating Independence. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 167–182.

2015b: "The Planned Past: Policy and (Ancient) Egypt". Egyptian and Egyptological Documents, Archives, Libraries 4, 229–240 (Milan, Pontremoli Editore).

2014: "Introduction: Thinking about Histories of Egyptology", in William Carruthers (ed.) Histories of Egyptology: Interdisciplinary Measures. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 1–15.

Reviews and Notes
2017: "Entangled Tensions". History of Anthropology Newsletter special section on "Fields, Furrows, and Landmarks in the History of Anthropology". Available at:

2015a: "Review of ‘Contesting Antiquity in Egypt: Archaeologies, Museums & the Struggle for Identities from World War I to Nasser’ by Donald Malcolm Reid". Public Archaeology 14 (3), 221–222.

2015b: "Review of ‘Unwrapping Ancient Egypt’ by Christina Riggs". Museum Anthropology Review 9 (2), online at:

2014: "A Review of ‘Dialogues with the Dead: Egyptology in British Culture and Religion, 1822–1922’". Bulletin of the History of Archaeology 24, 12.

2012: "Review of Abt, J: ‘American Egyptologist: The Life of James Henry Breasted and the Creation of His Oriental Institute’". British Journal for the History of Science 45, 691–692.

2011: "The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt? Egyptology’s Never-Ending Story". Antiquity 85 (330), 1444–1447.

2010a: "Means to an End: Seeking Bryan Emery in Archives". Egyptian Archaeology 36, 8–9.

2010b: "Conference Report. Disciplinary Measures? Histories of Egyptology in Multi-Disciplinary Context conference, June 10–12, 2010, London". History of Anthropology Newsletter 37 (1), 20–21.

Selected Blog Pieces
2016: "On Heritage, Culture and Trading Zones". TRAFO: Blog for Transregional Research, online at:

2015a: "Contentious Artifacts, Contentious Histories: Why Histories of Egyptology (and Archaeology) Matter". Routledge Archaeology and Museum Studies Blog, 30 January, 2015, online at:

2015b: "What we are talking about when we talk about Tutankhamun’s beard". The Max Weber Programme Blog, 29 January, 2015, online at:

2012: "Mit Rahineh-Memphis and Egyptian Fieldwork after the Free Officers’ Coup of 1952". Antiquity 86 (334) (Project Gallery), online at:

2011: (With: El Daly, O; Exell, K; Haikal, F; Helmy, M; Laziridis, N; Quirke, S) "Egyptologists Speak Out". New Statesman ("Cultural Capital" blog), online at:

2009: "Walter Bryan Emery and the History of Egyptology". Antiquity 83 (321) (Project Gallery), online at: