Martin Powers


Martin Powers is Professor Emeritus in the History of Art, and formerly Sally Michelson Davidson Professor of Chinese Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan. He served previously as Director of the Center for Chinese Studies. His research focuses on the role of the arts in the history of human relations in China, with an emphasis on social justice issues. In 1993 his Art and Political Expression in Early China, Yale University Press, received the Levenson Prize for the best book in pre-twentieth century Chinese studies. In 2006, his Pattern and Person: Ornament, Society, and Self in Classical China, was published by Harvard University Press East Asian Series and was awarded the Levenson Prize for 2008. He has served on numerous national committees, including NEH, ACLS, and the advisory board of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. He has taught at Tsinghua University, Peking University, and Zhejiang University, and has published articles and essays in multiple venues in Chinese, including an editorial series in the journal of culture and current affairs, Du Shu. In 2009 he was resident at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Together with Dr. Katherine Tsiang, he co-edited Looking at Asian Art and the Blackwell Companion to Chinese Art. In 2019, Routledge published his China and England: the Preindustrial Struggle for Justice in Word and Image. A Chinese translation of his 2012 Tsinghua lecture series was published in March, 2020 under the title The East in the West: Politics and Vision in Preindustrial China and England. He regularly contributes op-eds to Informed Comment and the South China Morning Post, and serves as a member of the SCMP Expert Network.