• Review of The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros: A Seventeenth-Century African Biography of an Ethiopian Woman

    Author(s):
    Subhasis Chattopadhyay (see profile)
    Editor(s):
    Swami Narasimhananda
    Date:
    2020
    Group(s):
    Early Medieval, New Testament, Poetics and Poetry
    Subject(s):
    History of Christianity, Poetry in translation, Poetry, Spirituality, Contemplative studies, Christianity
    Item Type:
    Book review
    Tag(s):
    African Spirituality, Mother Walatta Petros, Galawdewos, Ḥabäša people, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/bs5e-4242
    Abstract:
    Wendy Laura Belcher has done her cultural work by queering Mother Walatta Petros's life in this one of a kind book. The struggles of Mother Walatta Petros and her nuns and their heirs' reluctance to enunciate same sex desire is brought out well in this book and its review in Prabuddha Bharata which has not missed an issue from 1896 to date. The book under review establishes Mother Walatta Petros as an African proto-feminist. This is a very well researched book. The genre of the gädl too is very well brought out by Belcher and Kleiner. Medievalists offline and online really do not as yet think African indigenous works as worthy of their consideration. Belcher overcame many roadblocks to write something actually worth reading. Because of constraint of space, the book could not be reviewed more expansively.
    Notes:
    Generally first world savants do not care for developing world scholars and their (re)views. This reviewer is thankful to the Ramakrishna Mission for providing him with a hardcopy of this book before the world was shaken by COVI 19. May the tenacity and resilience of Mother Walatta Petros sustain us in the long future which is within the pandemic. Hinduism too shows its cosmopolitanism by publishing and giving space to a Christian feminist from Africa.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Book review    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    11 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
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