PSCO Presentation: 30 March, 2017

"The Black Queen of Sheba: The Circulation of an African Idea"

Wendy Belcher (Princeton)


Prof. Wendy Laura Belcher is an associate professor of medieval, early modern, and modern African literature with a joint appointment in the Princeton University departments of Comparative Literature and African American Studies. Her publications include Abyssinia's Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian Thought in the Making of an English Author (Oxford University Press, 2012) and The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros: A Seventeenth-Century African Biography of an Ethiopian Woman (Princeton University Press, 2015). Her current research project, The Black Queen of Sheba: The Global History of an African Idea, is about how medieval Ethiopians wrote an entire book (the Kebra Negaṣt) about the biblical figures of Solomon and Sheba, in 1322–1321, and how this story circulated around the world, influencing art and literature in Europe and the Americas for centuries, and even becoming the founding text of a new religion, the Rastafari.

Audio Recording

At the request of the presenter, no audio recording is available until her book of the subject is published.

Suggested Readings

There are no pre-circulated readings for this talk. E. A. Wallace Budge's 1932 translation of the Kebra Negaṣt is available online.

Meeting and Dining

All are welcome! As usual, those interested are also welcome to join us for an informal dinner prior to the session. Those wishing to dine together before the seminar will meet at 6:00 p.m. in the Second-Floor Lounge of Cohen Hall and then walk next door to the food court in Houston Hall. Or, just meet us in the Houston Hall downstairs food-court between 6:00-6:45 p.m.

As usual, the PSCO seminar will begin at 7:00 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. We meet in the Second-Floor Lounge of Cohen Hall.