Janet Richards is Professor of Egyptology in the Department of Near Eastern Studies and Curator of Dynastic Egyptian Collections at the Kelsey Museum. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania (PhD in Anthropology and Oriental Studies, 1992), Northwestern University (BA in Anthropology and French, 1981), l’École du Louvre and l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne (special student in Egyptian art and archaeology, 1979-80), she specializes in ancient northeast African archaeology and history, with emphasis on conceptual landscapes, ideologies of power, responses to political crisis, the purposes of biography, and social transformations over time as materialized in mortuary and votive contexts. Since 1995 she has directed the University of Michigan’s Abydos Middle Cemetery Project in southern Egypt, a large-scale investigation of a late third millennium BC mortuary landscape. She has also participated in excavations in southern Illinois, as well as at Amarna, Deir el Ballas, and East Karnak, Egypt.
She has curated several exhibitions at the Kelsey Museum, including most recently “Discovery! Excavating the Ancient World” (August-November 2013) and the new wing installation of the Kelsey’s permanent galleries of dynastic Egyptian artifacts (open November 2009). She regularly consults on exhibitions outside the Kelsey Museum, including most recently at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University and the Sohag Regional Museum in Sohag, Egypt. Her publications (all with Cambridge University Press) include the coedited volume Order, Legitimacy, and Wealth in Ancient States (2000), Society and Death in Ancient Egypt: Mortuary Landscapes of the Middle Kingdom (2005), and the forthcoming monograph Writing Ancient Lives: Weni the Elder and Ancient Egyptian Responses to Political Crisis.