Malea Powell

Professor; American Indian Studies Program; Graduate Faculty
Editor, College Composition & Communication

Google Scholar

Research Areas

Indigenous Rhetorics, Cultural Rhetorics, Rhetorical Theory, Rhetoric History, De-colonial Rhetorics, Digital Publishing, Diverse & Inclusive Curriculum Design, Administrative Work as Intellectual Practice, Leadership Development 


Malea Powell is a Professor in the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University as well as a faculty member in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. She is the editor of College Composition & Communication, director of the Cultural Rhetorics Consortium, founding editor of constellations: a journal of cultural rhetorics, past chair of the CCCC, and editor emerita of SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures. A widely published scholar and poet, her current book project, This Is A Story, examines the continuum of indigenous rhetorical production in North America, from beadwork to alphabetic writing. Powell is a mixed-blood of Indiana Miami, Eastern Shawnee, and Euroamerican ancestry. In her spare time, she hangs out with eccentric Native women artists, poets, and aunties, does beadwork, and writes romance novels.


Ph.D., English (Rhetoric & Critical Theory), Miami University, 1998
M.A., English (Rhetoric & Composition), Miami University, 1994
B.A., English, Indiana University at Kokomo, 1992

Representative Work

“Word by Word, Bead by Bead: Making a Scholarly Life.” Women’s Personal, Professional, and Intellectual Lives in Rhetoric and Composition. Elizabeth Flynn & Tiffany Bourelle, eds. OSU Press. 2018. 

Founding editor. Constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space. Editor-in-chief for Issue 1

Guest Editor (with Bratta, Levy, Riley-Mukavetz), Enculturation special issue on cultural rhetorics, 2016.

“Introducing the Conversation: engaging with cultural rhetorics,” with Phil Bratta. Enculturation, 2016

“Making Native Space for Graduate Students: a story of indigenous rhetorical practice,” with Andrea Riley-Mukavetz. Survivance, Sovereignty, and Story: Teaching Indigenous Rhetorics. Eds. Gubele, Anderson & King. Utah State UP, 2015. 138-159.

Our Story Begins Here: Constellating Cultural Rhetorics Practices,” with Levy, Riley-Mukavetz, Brooks-Gillies, Novotny & Fisch-Ferguson. enculturation, October 2014.

“A basket is a basket because…: Telling a Native Rhetorics Story.” Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature. Eds. Justice & Cox. Oxford UP, 2014. 25 pgs.

“Stories Take Place: A Performance in One Act.” CCC 64.2 (2012), 383-406.

Selected Courses Taught

WRA 853 Workshop in Rhetoric & Writing, MSU, Spring 2016.
WRA 805 Histories & Theories of Rhetoric, MSU, Fall 2014, 2015.
WRA 872 Decolonial Methods, MSU, Summer 2015.
WRA 891 Writing Workshop for Graduate Students, MSU, Spring 2015.
WRA 891 Oral History Methods, MSU, Summer 2014.
AL 882 Co-taught with Dean Rehberger. Contemporary Theories of Rhetoric, MSU, Spring 2004, 2006, 2012, 2014.
AL 885 Rhetoric & Writing Research Colloquium, MSU AY2004-05. Fall 2013, 2016.
AL 827 Critical & Cultural Theory, MSU, Summer 2011, 2013.
AL 848 Theory & Methodology in Cultural Rhetorics, MSU, Spring 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013.
AL 891 American Indian Rhetorics, MSU, Spring 2012.

Research or Academic Affiliations

American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program Digital Publishing Lab (director)