Dr. Malea Powell Named
WRAC Chair

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February 5, 2015

The College of Arts & Letters has named Dr. Malea Powell as Chair of the MSU Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC), effective January 1, 2016. Dr. Powell has served as Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Programs in WRAC since 2013. She is an associate professor and faculty in the American Indian Studies program.

“Dr. Powell brings years of leadership experience to her position as Chair of WRAC,” said Christopher P. Long, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters. “She is a recognized national leader in the field of rhetoric and communication and a scholar of the first order. She has played a critical role in creating a culture of inclusion and excellence within the department. I look forward to working with her in her new role as Chair.”

Powell earned her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition in1998 at Miami University of Ohio. She came to MSU in 2005 after four years on faculty at the University of Nebraska. Her research interests include graduate curriculum and pedagogy; indigenous and cultural rhetorics; theory in real life; and understanding decolonial rhetorical histories. Much of Dr. Powell’s research focuses on examining the rhetorics of survivance used by 19th century American Indian intellectuals, and on the material cultural rhetorics of American Indian artists.

“I care deeply about this department, the people in it, and our future as a partner with the College. WRAC is a large and diverse community of outstanding scholars, teachers, mentors, students and staff,” says Dr. Powell. “I look forward to leading the creation of an intentional space where we can build on individual achievements in order to create a collective vision for our shared future as a department.

“I'm also excited about how we can contribute to current CAL initiatives, and collaborate with other CAL units to work toward a robust, innovative set of models for new humanities scholarship and teaching.”

Dr. Powell has published essays in College Composition and Communication, College English, American Indian Quarterly, Paradoxa, and in several critical collections. She has also presented her work in diverse venues including the Modern Language Association Convention, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the Rhetoric Society of America Conference, and the Native American & Indigenous Scholars Association Conference, to name a few.

She is a former Chair of the Conference on College Composition & Communication, a five-year role that included planning the organization's national convention (Atlanta 2011) and crafting a vision for the organization's strategic governance until 2022. She also served as co-director of the first-ever Cultural Rhetorics conference (East Lansing 2014), co-director and host of the Feminisms & Rhetoric Conference (East Lansing 2009), is former associate national director of the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers, and former editor of Studies in American Indian Literatures.

Dr. Powell is a founding member of the community-based National Center for the Study of Great Lakes Native American Culture—an organization dedicated to the preservation of Great Lakes indigenous history, art, and culture, and founder of the Cultural Rhetorics Consortium – a new professional organization for scholars in that emerging field.