5 Questions With Kate Liszka

Dr. Kate Liszka is an Egyptologist who directs an archaeological excavation in Egypt at the site of Wadi el-Hudi (an area of ancient amethyst mining settlements).  Additionally, she researches interactions between Ancient Nubians and Egyptians, c. 2000 BCE, looking at issues like ancient identity and ancient immigration.

She joined CSUSB in 2015, and is currently the Benson and Pamela Harer Chair in Egyptology and Assistant professor of History.  And she enjoys teaching classes on Ancient Egypt and World History for the Departments of History, Anthropology, and Art.  She also enjoys the opportunity to teach with the exceptional Ancient Egyptian collection housed in RAFFMA. 

Dr. Liszka received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations with a focus on Ancient Egyptian History and Archaeology in 2012.  After that time, she was an esteemed Cotsen Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at Princeton University.  She had published several articles, spoken at dozens of national and international conferences, and received prestigious grants for her archaeological work.  But of all her accomplishments, she most enjoyed a decade of talking to middle school students about Ancient Egypt and Archaeology at libraries and schools across Pennsylvania and New Jersey while she was in graduate school.  She hopes to teach CSUSB students how to do the same thing in the Inland Empire.

I teach people how to think for themselves and how to examine evidence to come to a logical conclusion.

Of my many alternative lives, I would be a super spy for the state department or a professional stage manager for theater.  As a director of an archaeological dig, it mixes elements of adventure, cunning, and organizational management, which you get in my alternate professions too.

Question people.  Question your textbooks.  Knowledge is always based on evidence and the interpretation of that evidence.  You shouldn’t just be content with someone telling you X-fact.  Instead insist on knowing how X-fact was created to begin with.

As an Egyptologist, I’m sure you want me to say Indiana Jones.  And of course, that is a possibility, but I also see him as far too reckless of a fictional character for me to want to embody personally.  Instead, I would prefer to be a detective that travels the world solving mysteries, someone like Hercule Poirot.

Freddy Mercury (from Queen). He’s voice is one of the most alluring I’ve ever heard. His music is inventive, complex, and yet fun.  And he left the world far too early, dying from aids in 1991.