Wendy Laura Belcher

Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and African American Studies
Assistant Director of Graduate Affairs, African American Studies
Email Address: 
Office Location: 
105 East Pyne

Professor Wendy Laura Belcher is an associate professor of African literature with a joint appointment in the Princeton University Department of Comparative Literature and the Department for African American Studies. Working at the intersection of diaspora, postcolonial, and eighteenth-century studies, she has a special interest in the literatures of Ethiopia and Ghana and a multi-book comparative project demonstrating how African thought has animated British and European canonical literature. This includes the widely reviewed finalist for the Bethwell A. Ogot Award for best book on East Africa: Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian Thought in the Making of an English Author (Oxford, May 2012), which theorizes the discursive possession of English authors and texts. The next part of the project is in progress, a book titled The Black Queen of Sheba: A Global History of an African Idea, about the circulation of Ethiopian thought in Europe from 1000 to 2000. She is now working to bring attention to early African literature (written between 1300 and 1900), particularly that in African languages, through her research and translation. These scholarly interests emerge from her life experiences growing up in East and West Africa, where she became fascinated with the richness of Ghanaian and Ethiopian intellectual traditions. 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. Previous books included the best-seller Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success, which has helped thousands to publish their important work and been cited in over 100 publications, and the award-winning Honey from the Lion: An African Journey (Dutton, 1988). Before becoming a professor, she worked for eleven years as the director of a small academic press with several book series.