Writer Jennifer Howard explores the early life and significant work of Professor Wendy Laura Belcher, and where the two intersect, in a feature profile, “A Broader Notion of African Literature,” which appeared in the September 2015 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Belcher spent three years living in Ethiopia as an adolescent, and then six years in Ghana. Her first book, Honey From the Rock, was autobiographical in nature about her years spent in Africa. Later, earning a Ph.D in comparative literature from UCLA, Belcher’s gaze returned to the places she lived as a youth, with sophisticated, potent and careful analyses that attract attention and increasing understanding of literature written by Africans, for Africans.
An excerpt from the article:
Belcher’s current project, “The Black Queen of Sheba: The Global History of an Idea,” examines medieval and early-modern Ethiopian retellings of the story of Solomon and Sheba. According to Belcher, the legend of an African Queen of Sheba ultimately produced a 14th-century novel, the Kebra Nagast. “Its African Christian portrayal of the Queen of Sheba differs radically from other versions in depicting a queen wiser, purer, and more powerful than any man, one so strong she could take the Ark of the Covenant from King Solomon,” Belcher says. She makes the case that the book stands as one of the most important medieval texts, one whose impact can be seen in the development of Rastafarianism, in the stories of H. Rider Haggard, and in the Indiana Jones movies.
Read the entire profile: A Broader Notion of African Literature
Visit WendyBelcher.com for more information about Professor Belcher’s work.