M. Kamari Clarke

M. Kamari Clarke is a professor of Anthropology and International and Area Studies at Yale University.  She is also the Chair of the Yale Council on African Studies (with a courtesy appointment in African American Studies). Professor Clarke was educated in her early years in Canada.  She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Concordia University in 1988.  Her graduate work was completed in the United States – an M.A. was from the Department of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research, a Master in the Study of Law from Yale University (MSL), and a Ph.D. (1997) from the University of California, Santa-Cruz.  During her academic career she has held numerous prestigious fellowships, grants and awards – a two-year President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, a Social Sciences and the Humanities Research Council of Canada fellowship, Ford Foundation, Wenner Gren Foundation, National Science Foundation, and in her leadership capacity at Yale University she led her Council into securing a four-year 1.5 million grant US Government Title VI NRC and FLAS grant.

Professor Clarke’s research explores issues related to religious nationalism, legal institutions, human rights and international law, the interface between culture, power and globalization, and its relationship to race and modernity. Clarke's research interests have taken her to intentional Yoruba communities in the American South, traditionalist religious and legal domains in Southwestern Nigeria, international criminal tribunals, and international law training sessions in Ireland, London, Geneva, Banjul, The United Nations and beyond.  She serves on several scholarly and advisory boards and is the founding director of the Center for Transnational Cultural Analysis at Yale. Over the years she has lectured throughout various regions of the United States, Canada, West and South Africa, England, and the Caribbean and taught courses on Globalization, Transnationalism, and Modernity, Rethinking Human Rights, Contemporary Social Theory, Religious Nationalism, Race and Empire, and the Anthropology of Religion. 

She has two research projects underway. One project lies at the intersections between legal and religious knowledge in which she examines contemporary crises over the state accommodations of cultural differences and the ways that different cultural agents seek to enforce, legitimatize and authorize decision-making in North American courts.  In this work she explores various cases (constitutional freedoms, asylum, criminal/religious, religious freedoms among inmates) where courts have ruled in one way and those affected by the ruling have mobilized their forces differently.  This work is now in manuscript form, entitled Of Dreamers and the Limits of the Law, and aims to explore the fundamental impossibility of the exercise of religious freedoms—especially in relation to criminal, civil asylum and refugee cases.  The second project is related to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the African Union and explores current theoretical debates on the globalization of human rights, the anthropology of justice, and genealogies of affect.  This project explores contestations over justice, documenting the making of the Rome Statute for the ICC and the corresponding rise of the rule of law movement and the implications of ICC activity in Africa.  Research underway is taking place at two critical sites:  (1) the ICC at The Hague, in which investigations and adjudication are ongoing; (2) the AU Commission in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia, where political, economic and culturally shaped decision-making is underway toward the development of an African court with the jurisdiction to handle international crimes committed by individuals.

Fellow member
Yale University
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