In 1997, Marketus Presswood was the only Black student in his language program in Beijing, China. His experience navigating race, culture, and identity between China and the U.S. shaped his current research into socio-cultural interactions between Africa, the African Diaspora and China in the twentieth century. Studying abroad in China is not just crucial for American national security, but an important way for young Americans and Chinese to see they have more in common than not. 

In an interview recorded January 25, 2024, Marketus Presswood discusses his experience in China and the necessity of study abroad equity for underrepresented groups of young Americans. 


Marketus Presswood

Dr. Presswood completed his doctorate program at the University of California—Irvine in Modern Chinese History. His transnational research projects interrogate the historical record of socio-cultural interactions between Africa, the African Diaspora and China in the 20th century. He is the writer and director of the documentary Yellow Jazz Black Music that traces the story and influence of African American jazz musicians in Shanghai from the 1920s to the present-day. Dr. Presswood has also contributed to mainstream periodicals like The Atlantic.

Dr. Presswood is an avid believer in the transformative experience of overseas study. In 2005, he founded and operated the first African American-owned study abroad organization focused exclusively on increasing the number of African American students studying overseas. In five years, his organization successfully matriculated dozens of Black students on his China program. In 2021, he was a Leading Edge Fellow with American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Postdoctoral Fellowship working on study abroad equity with a major study abroad institution.

Dr. Presswood is a member of both the National Committee on U.S. China Relations and The China Research Center.