Wendy Laura Belcher
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2008
Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Literature
105 East Pyne
Professor Wendy Belcher specializes in medieval, early modern, and modern African literature. Her current research addresses the circulation of African thought in Europe and England before the nineteenth century. She works at the intersection of diaspora, postcolonial, and eighteenth-century studies, theorizing transcultural intertextuality as a form of discursive possession in which African discourse animates representations in the English canon. These scholarly interests emerge from Professor Belcher’s life experiences growing up in East and West Africa, where she became fascinated with the richness of Ghanaian and Ethiopian intellectual traditions. Her other research interests include race and gender in eighteenth-century English literature; rhetorical indirection as a form of resistance in twentieth-century African diasporic novels; prison literature; African manuscript cultures; African female saints; Ge’ez literature, and intellectual autobiography. Her teaching focuses on how non-Western literature has participated in a global traffic in invention, pairing texts across national and continental boundaries in order to debunk stereotypes of Africans as peoples without history, texts, or influence until the 1950s. Professor Belcher has published an award-winning memoir about Ghana, is co-editor of volumes on the Chicano personal essay and African politics and development, and has written for such media as the BBC, Salon.com, The Seattle Times, LA Weekly, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Ethiopian Review, Index on Censorship, and others. Professor Belcher spent 2010-2011 on a Fulbright in Ethiopia studying manuscripts about Ethiopian female saints.
- Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian Thought in the Making of an English Author (Oxford, 2012).
- Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success (Sage, 2009). Translated into Spanish, simplified Chinese, and traditional Chinese.
- Honey from the Lion: An African Journey (E. P. Dutton, 1988). Winner of Washington State Governor’s Writers Award; Finalist in the Martha Albrand/PEN Society Award for first book of nonfiction; translated into French by l’Ecole des Loisirs as Le Miel du Lion.
- “Sisters Debating the Jesuits: The Role of African Women in Defeating Portuguese Proto-Colonialism in Seventeenth-Century Abyssinia.” Northeast African Studies 13, no.1 (Spring 2013).
- “From Sheba They Come: Medieval Ethiopian Myth, U.S. Newspapers, and Modern American Narrative.” Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters 33, no. 2 (Spring 2010): 239-257.
- "Consuming Subjects: Theorizing New Models of Agency For Literary Criticism in African Studies.” Comparative Literature Studies 46, no. 2 (Spring 2009): 213-232.
- “Indirect Resistance: Rhetorical Strategies for Evading Power in Colonial French West African Novels by Camara Laye, Ferdinand Oyono, and Sembene Ousmane.” LIT: Literature, Interpretation, Theory 18, no. 1 (spring 2007): 65-87.
Introduction to Background and Research:
More about Professor Belcher:
- Catherine L. Zandonella “The Life of an Ethiopian Saint.” Discovery: Research at Princeton 2012:3.
- Belcher: Perspective on ancient Ethiopian texts
- CAAS Faculty Spotlight: Wendy Laura Belcher’s Research
- Finding a World of Connections: Growing Up Global Course
- CBC Radio, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia: Thoughts on African Literature (Audio)
- Master Trainer Workshop: Writing Journal Articles for Publication (Video)
- Jezebel: Model Memoir Course