In Memoriam

VèVè Amasasa Clark (1944-2007)

VèVè Amasasa Clark, an associate professor of African-American studies at the University of California at Berkeley, died earlier this month after falling into a coma. She was 62 years old.

Professor Clark served on the faculty at Berkeley for 16 years. A literary scholar who specialized in African oral expression and Francophone novels, she is credited with coining the term “diaspora literacy,” which she defined as understanding multi-layered meanings of stories, words, and folk sayings in African diaspora communities.

A native of New York City, she graduated from Queens College of the City University of New York and later returned there to earn a master’s degree in French. In 1983 she earned her Ph.D. in French from Berkeley. After 11 years on the faculty at Tufts University she joined the faculty at Berkeley in 1991.

Ula Taylor, chair of the department of African-American studies at Berkeley, said that Professor Clark “was the epitome of a brilliant scholar, passionate thinker, gifted writer, and master teacher.”