Powell completed her undergraduate work at Guilford College earning a B.A. with Honors in Religious Studies. After seven years working with locally- and nationally-focused social and environmental justice groups based in Atlanta, she undertook graduate study in anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, working with Dorothy Holland and Arturo Escobar. With Holland, Escobar and other faculty and graduate students, Powell helped found the Social Movements Working Group (SMWG) in 2003 and with Holland in the same year, the Center for Integrating Research and Action (CIRA). Powell received external grants for graduate work and dissertation research from a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, a Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Award, a Jacobs Fund Dissertation Fieldwork Award, and as a Fellow in UNC-CH’s Royster Society of Fellows. She completed her Ph.D. in Anthropology in 2011 joined the faculty at Appalachian State University, where she designed the Anthropology Department’s program in Social Practice and Sustainability.
Powell has done ethnographic research in Chiapas, Mexico, in Beijing, China, and most extensively in the Navajo (Diné) Nation in the American Southwest, focusing on environmental movements around energy infrastructure. Her first book, Landscapes of Power: Politics of Energy in the Navajo Nation, will be published with Duke University Press in 2017. Powell has a long-term collaboration with scholars at the Diné Policy Institute with whom she is currently developing a new project, investigating the significance of the recent Standing Rock/Dakota Access Pipeline movement within Diné energy and infrastructure politics. Powell’s new project is supported by grants from Appalachian State’s University Research Council and the Department of Anthropology’s Claassen Research Enhancement award.
Title: Associate Professor
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Phone: (828) 262-2268