Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptian art and architecture in the UCLA College, was awarded the Nancy Lapp Popular Book Award from the American Schools of Oriental Research for her work on “When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt.”

Founded in 1900, the American Schools of Oriental Research is an international organization whose mission is to initiate, encourage, and support research into the history and cultures of the Near East and wider Mediterranean. The award is presented to the author or editor of a book published in the last two years that offers a new synthesis of archaeological or textual evidence intended to reach an audience of scholars as well as students and the broader public. One award is given annually.

Coonney’s book injects an important and timely topic into popular discourse. She writes about the highlights of Egyptian history from Dynasty zero through the Ptolemies, with a focus on the historic role of female leadership and its implications in the modern world. Her book serves as an example of how studies of ancient societies can be made relevant and interesting to a general audience and raise provocative questions that matter today.

Cooney was co-curator of “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and also producer of the comparative archaeology television series “Out of Egypt.” She is currently researching coffin reuse, investigating the socioeconomic and political turmoil during the 19th and 21st dynasties, which has affected funerary and burial practices in ancient Egypt.