Timothy Powell

Contact Information
Office Address: 
213 Cohen Hall
Email Address: 
Office Hours: 
By appointment

Dr. Timothy Powell is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies and a Consulting Scholar at the Penn Museum.  He is also the Director of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) at the American Philosophical Society in downtown Philadelphia.  Dr. Powell has received numerous grants to support the Digital Knowledge Sharing program at CNAIR.  The program brings Native American fellows to Philadelphia to select materials for digitization that can be used for language preservation and cultural revitalization in indigenous communities.  Dr. Powell is currently conducting an ethnographic study of what happens when "the stories go back home."

Research and Teaching Interests: 

Native American religions, digital humanities, anthropology, literature, ethnomusicology, archival activism

Selected Publications: 

“Anthropology of Revitalization: Digitizing the American Philosophical Society’s Native American Collections,” Franz Boas: Ethnographer, Theorist, Activist, Public Intellectual, ed. Regna Darnell, forthcoming from University of Nebraska Press

“Steering a Course Set by Thomas Jefferson: New Developments in the Native American collections at the APS,” Transactions, forthcoming.

 “Encoding Culture: Building a Digital Archive Based on Traditional Ojibwe Codes of Conduct,” written by Timothy B. Powell and inspired by Larry Aitken, The American Literature Scholar in the Digital Age, eds. Amy Earhart and Andrew Jewell (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2011).  Also available on the DigitalCulturalBooks online imprint from University of Michigan Press: The American Literature Scholar in the Digital Age

Work in Progress: 

Dr. Powell is the project director for an NEH Challenge grant to endow the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) at the American Philosophical Society

Recent Courses: 

RELS 409 / ANTH 409 "Native American Spirituality, Health, and Contemporary Concerns"

RELS 208 / ANTH 282 / CINE 282 "A History of Films By and About Native Americans"

Brief Biography: 

Tim Powell in a New Englander whose family has lived in the Connecticut River Valley in western Massachusetts for many generations.  His mentors in studying Native American spirituality are Larry Aitken, a traditional knowledge keeper from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in northern Minnesota, and Tom Belt, a traditional knowledge keeper from the Cherokee Nation who teaches the Cherokee language on Qualla Boundary, home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.  Dr. Powell works with a wide range of indigenous communities including the Ojibwemowing Center at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Tuscarora Nation, Indigenous Knowledge Center at Six Nations Polytechnic in Ontario, Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in the Smoky Mountains, and Kwakwaka'wakw First Nations on the Northwest coast.

Curriculum vitae: 
Beyond the Binary
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Ruthless Democracy
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The Singing Bird
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