What is the VèVè A. Clark Institute for Engaged Scholars of African American Studies?

The Clark Institute prepares a cadre of scholars majoring (or intending to major) in the discipline of African American Studies to meet the rigor and intellectual demands of top graduate programs, professional schools, and postgraduate careers.

About VèVè A. Clark

VèVè Amasasa Clark, born December 14, 1944, joined the ancestors December 1, 2007. Raised in Queens, New York, Clark received her bachelor's came to the University of California, Berkeley, as a graduate student and completed her Ph.D. in French and ethnology in 1983. After earning tenure at Tufts University, Clark returned to UC Berkeley in 1991 as an associate professor in the Department of African American Studies (AAS). Clark's scholarship, teaching, and service—indeed her entire intellectual acumen and arsenal—reflect her passionate commitment to the field of African American and African diaspora studies, a discipline that she in no uncertain terms both fashioned and elevated. Fluent in French, Spanish and Creole, conversant in Wolof, and with training in literstudies and anthropology, Clark embodied interdisciplinarity well in advance of its present popularity; her work was at the vanguard of our most consequential scholarly currents.

She was most passionate about African and Caribbean literatures, Afro-Caribbean folklore, African diasporic theater, African American dance history, and critical pedagogy. Clark often spoke of infrastructure as a means to dismantle institutional barriers and foster social justice through the academy. Effectively, she has left her telling signature on a variety of existing institutions at Berkeley and beyond, including the forging of the doctoral program in African American and African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley, one of few such programs in the nation. Moreover, she was instrumental in creating other significant organizations, including the Haitian Studies Association, for which she served as founding member of its board of directors. Her enthusiasm for her research subjects translated seamlessly into the classroom, where she taught some of the department's most popular courses, including Marasa: Caribbean Literatures by Women, The Negritude Movement in French African/Caribbean Literatures, African Women Writers, and Introduction to the University.

How To Apply

The VèVè A. Clark Institute is a small cadre of scholars majoring (or intending to major) in the discipline of African American Studies who will form an intellectual community that will prepare them to meet the rigor and intellectual demands of top graduate programs, professional schools, and postgraduate careers. The program is open to students who have declared (or intend to declare) the African American Studies major and who have at least two years remaining in their undergraduate career at UC Berkeley. A complete application consists of

  • This informational form: downloadable form here
  • A one-page (single-spaced) personal statement
  • A five-page (double-spaced) writing sample from your college-level coursework
  • In a one-page (single-spaced) document, please discuss how your academic interests relate to the field of African American Studies, and why you are interested in the VèVè A. Clark Institute.
  • An electronic copy of your unofficial transcript from Bear Facts (transfer students, please provide scanned copies of transcripts from all of your previous college-level coursework or mail hard copies to: 660 Barrows Hall, MC 2572, Berkeley, Ca 94720-2572, Attn: Lindsey Herbert)

Please submit all materials electronically to: veveclarkinstitute@berkeley.edu