Marika Preziuso is Associate Professor of World Literature at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She holds a Ph.D. in Literature from the Caribbean Diaspora and an M.A. in Gender, Society and Culture, both from the University of London, UK.
She writes: I teach 20th century and contemporary postcolonial literature, particularly by migrant and diasporic writers, and speculative fiction of the uncanny, magic realism and Afrofuturism. The transnational scope of my classes actively invites students to cultivate the skill of intercultural understanding, specifically for visual artists and designers. In summer 2019 I designed and taught a graduate seminar titled “Intercultural Lab for Artists,” which focused on the intersections of craft, world, and self.
My working definition of Intercultural Understanding is: the orientation to any meaningful encounter across differences in which all parties involved recognize each other’s complexities, specificity, and dignity, and choose to engage with them from a self-reflective, dynamic and culturally responsive place.
At MassArt, I am the organizer of Creative Counterpoints,an annual series in its fourth year, devoted to the intersections of narratives of creativity and difference as investigated by visual artists, writers, public intellectuals, and other culture makers.
My academic research examines the intercultural pedagogies that result from transnational visual and literary narratives. These employ strategies of resistance and “opacity” to critique and expand Western imaginaries of “otherness” and create syncretic safe and radical spaces for their authors and their art.
My most recent publication is my conversation with artist Wangechi Mutu, titled “Is America Really Full?”, which is forthcoming in Transition, the magazine of the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research at Harvard University.
I am a published poet and a RYT yoga instructor and meditation guide. My poetry stems from an intentional practice of “counterpoint”. As an immigrant woman, an academic of diaspora studies, a white “other” in a sea of American whiteness, I navigate layers of difference at times as a deficit, at times as an excess, a surplus. My poetry stems from this constant, exhausting and yet rewarding process of counterpoint, an alchemy, a (mis)translation. These qualities are both my curse and the lens through which I observe and make sense of the world, from the space of a sideway outsider, and suspicious insider space.
Outside Massart, I lead creative workshops in partnership with local communities in Boston to weave the practices of meditation, journaling, story-telling and verse in translation as gateways to explore our emotions and experiences as honorable and to practice holding space for them with curiosity, compassion, and a sense of humor. I particularly welcome the opportunity to work with creatives who straddle languages, cultures, and complex personal histories and support them in the (re)kindling of their creative light.
Work for CID:
Marika Preziuso offered her students credit if they would create potential CID Posters.