As a 2021–2022 Old Dominion Professor in the Humanities Council, Wendy Laura Belcher will advance in writing her book Ladder of Heaven: The Miracles of the Virgin Mary in Ethiopian Literature and Art.
A professor in Comparative Literature and African American Studies, she is working to bring attention to early African literature and how African thought has shaped global history. She is the author of Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian Thought in the Making of an English Author (Oxford, 2012), and the translation with Michael Kleiner of The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros: A Seventeenth-Century African Biography of an Ethiopian Woman (Princeton, 2015), perhaps the first African biography of an African woman. Another book in progress is The Black Queen of Sheba: A Global History of an African Idea. She is also principal investigator on the Princeton Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Egyptian Miracles of Mary project and works on translations with others under her Early African Literature project.