Professor of Egyptology; Fellow of The Queen’s College
Faculty / College Address:
My research interests centre round the interpretation of ancient Egyptian literature, especially the poetry of the classic age (1940–1640 BC). As well the philological study of manuscripts, I work on material contexts, actors’ perspectives, literary theory (‘new historicist’ and ‘material philology’ practices) and modern receptions in literature, art and film. I am interested in issues of performance practice, cultural power, and sexuality in Ancient Egyptian culture. I enjoy the experience of attempting an integrated reading of ancient texts, thinking about their context in the landscape, their performance, and their emotional and intellectual impact on their audiences (including us).
From my work as a museum curator at the British Museum (where projects included the display of the Rosetta Stone and the Nebamun wall-paintings), I am particularly concerned with issues of materiality in the interpretation of Ancient Egyptian culture. Drawing on my research on the ‘subaltern’ aspects of ancient poems, I have also published on LGBT history across world cultures.
- The Ramesseum Papyri Research Project (with the British Museum and the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, Berlin):
- A reader’s commentary on The Tale of Sinuhe:
- History and culture of dynastic Egypt
- Egyptian art and architecture
- Egyptian artefacts
- Egyptian language and texts
- 2008 The Painted Tomb-Chapel of Nebamun. London: British Museum Press; Cairo: American University in Cairo Press.
- 2008, ‘“Boasting about Hardness”: Constructions of Middle Kingdom Masculinity’. In C. Graves-Brown (ed.), ‘Don Your Wig for a Happy Hour’: Sex and Gender in Ancient Egypt, 115–42. Swansea: Classical Press of Wales.
- 2008 with P. Usick, ‘The History of the Nebamun Wall-paintings: An Archival Investigation’. In A. Middleton and K. A. Uprichard (ed.), The Nebamun Wall Paintings: Conservation, Scientific Analysis and Display at the British Museum, 5–15. London: Archetype Publications.
- 2009 Reading Ancient Egyptian Poetry: Among Other Histories. Chichester and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
- 2010 Hunefer and His Book of the Dead. London: British Museum Press.
- 2010 ‘A Life Before the Afterlife’. Guardian and Observer supplement 6.11.2010, The Ancient World: Egypt, 4–11 (guardian.co.uk/culture/2010/nov/06/ancient-world-egypt).
- 2010 with B. Leach, ‘Creating Borders: New Insights into Making the Papyrus of Ani’. BMSAES 15 (britishmuseum.org/research/online_journals/bmsaes/issue_15/ leach_and_parkinson.aspx).
- 2011 ‘A Papyrus from the House of Life at Akhetaten’. Egyptian Archaeology 38, 42–3.
- 2011 with Tamás Bács, ‘Wall-paintings from the Tomb of Kynebu at Luxor’. Egyptian Archaeology 39, 41–3.
- 2011 ‘What “Makes The Gun Go Off”?: The Role of the Voice in Two Middle Kingdom Poems’. In E. Meyer-Dietrich (ed.), Laut und Leise: Der Gebrauch von Stimme und Klang in historischen Kulturen,13–35.Reihe Mainzer Historische Kulturwissenschaften 7; Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.
- 2012 The Ramesseum Papyri. Online Research Catalogue; britishmuseum.org/research/ online_research_catalogues.aspx.
- 2012 The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant: A Reader’s Commentary. Lingua Aegyptia Studia Monographica 10; Hamburg: Widmaier Verlag.
- 2012 with L. Baylis, Four 12th Dynasty Literary Papyri (Pap. Berlin P. 3022–5): A Photographic Record. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.
- 2012 ‘A “Great Unrecorded History”: Presenting LGBT History in a Museum for the World’: lgbtialms2012.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/richard-parkinson-british-museum-london.html#more.
- 2012 ‘Performances: The Tale of Sinuhe’ [online publication of video of part of staged recital]. britishmuseum.org/research/research_projects/ all_current_projects/the_ramesseum_papyri/performance_tale_of_sinuhe
- 2013 A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World. London: British Museum Press; New York: Columbia University Press; French edition (trans. M. Pieroni), Le monde gay: une brève histoire illustrée. Rennes: Editions Ouest-France (britishmuseum.org/samesexdesireandgenderidentity).
- 2014 with Barbara Ewing 'The Queen Shrieks: The Shock of Ancient Egyptian Poetry' [Inaugural lecture]. podcasts.ox.ac.uk/queen-shrieks-shock-ancient-egyptian-poetry
- 2015 ‘Glimpses of a Gay World History: From ancient Egypt to the Modern Museum’ [Southampton Stonewall Lecture 2015]. coursecast.soton.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=cabbf694-b302-4337-938d-47c436dded1e
- 2015 with B. Fay and K. Jansen-Winklen ‘Don't Do What I Did! An Early Middle Kingdom Block Statue with an Inscription Added Later for “The God’s Father …, The Royal Scribe and Prophet of Osiris … Seniu (snw-jww)”’. Zeitschrift für Ägypytische Sprache und Altertumskunde 142, 33–44.
- 2015 'Ancient Beauty and Modern Lives'. blog.britishmuseum.org/2015/06/26/ancient-beauty-and-modern-lives
- 2015 'The Impact of Middle Kingdom Literature, Ancient and Modern' with catalogue entries, in A. Oppenheim et al. (ed.), Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, 180–7. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.