The VèVè A. Clark papers document her research, teaching, and professional career. The collection is divided into nine series:
Photographic Materials; Audiovisual Materials; Teaching and Course Materials; Administrative Materials; Correspondence and
Personalia; Katherine Dunham; Maya Deren; Writings; and Professional Activities.
VèVè Amasasa Clark (December 14, 1944-December 1, 2007) was a scholar, author, and expert in African and Caribbean literature.
She helped create the nation's first doctoral program in African Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Clark was raised in Queens, New York and received her B.A. and M.A. from Queens College. She completed her Ph.D. in French
and ethnology at UC Berkeley in 1983. After earning tenure at Tufts University, Clark returned to Berkeley as an associate
professor in the Department of African American Studies. She was a faculty member for 16 years, serving as a mentor to and
champion of Black undergraduate and graduate students across all disciplines. Clark focused on retaining and supporting Black
students in her department, as well as those who specialized in African American, African and Caribbean studies. Clark was
fluent in French, Spanish, and Creole, and conversant in Wolof. Trained in literary theory and anthropology, her approach
was interdisciplinary, and she sought to foster social justice through the academy. Some of Clark's areas of expertise included
African and Caribbean literatures, Afro-Caribbean folklore, African diasporic theater, African American dance history, and
critical pedagogy. Clark taught some of her department's most popular classes, including Marasa: Caribbean Literatures by
Women, The Negritude Movement in French African/Caribbean Literatures, African Women Writers, and Introduction to the University
(AAS 39B), a course that helped prepare students for academic and extracurricular life at UC Berkeley. Clark coined the term
"diaspora literacy" in one of her best known essays, and helped define African Diaspora Studies. She was also widely recognized
for her research and publications on African American dancer, anthropologist, and social activist Katherine Dunham and avant-garde
filmmaker Maya Deren.
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