Katrina M. Powell


Katrina M. Powell

Katrina M. Powell

Professor, Director, Center for Rhetoric in Society and Ph.D. Program in Rhetoric and Writing


340C Shanks Hall
181 Turner St. NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061




Department Membership



  • Displacement Narratives
  • Human Rights Rhetorics
  • Identity and Self-representation
  • Performative Autobiography

Professional Activities

  • Director, Center for Rhetoric in Society 2016-present
  • Co-Founder, VT Stories
  • Director, Women’s and Gender Studies 2010-2016


  • Ph.D. University of Louisville
  • M.A. George Mason University
  • B.A. Mary Washington College

Research Interests

    Awards and Honors

    • Voice of Witness Story Lab
      College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Outstanding Research Award, 2016
    • Diggs Teaching Scholar Award, 2015
    • Excellence in Outreach Award, 2012
    • Sturm Award in Research Excellence, 2010
    • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2005-2006

    Selected Publications


    Identity and Power in Narratives of Displacement, Routledge, 2015

    The Anguish of Displacement: The Politics of Literacy in the Letters of Mountain Families in Shenandoah National Park, University of Virginia Press, 2007

    Edited Books

    Practicing Research in Writing Studies: Reflexive and Ethically Responsible Research, Hampton Inc Press, 2012


    • Powell, Katrina M., *Jenny Dick-Mosher, Anisa Zvonkovic, and Pamela Teaster. “Displacing Marginalized Bodies: How Human Rights Discourses Function in the Law and in Communities.” International Journal for the Semiotics of Law. 28.2 (Online 19 Aug 2015).
    • Powell, Katrina M. “Converging Crises: Rhetorical Constructions of Eugenics and the Public Child.” JAC: Journal of Rhetoric, Culture & Politics 33.3 (2013): 455-485.
    • Powell, Katrina M. “Rhetorics of Displacement: Constructions of Identity in Forced Relocations.” College English 74.4 (March 2012): 297-322.
    • Powell, Katrina M. “Representing Human Rights Violations in Multi-Media Contexts.” In ‘We Shall Bear Witness’: Critical Conversations in Life Writing, Testimony and Human Rights. Ed. Meg Jensen and Margaretta Jolly. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2014. 196-213.

    Sponsored Research

    National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2005-2006

    South Atlantic Humanities Fellowship 2008-2009


    Powell, Katrina M., Assistant Producer. “Rothstein’s First Assignment.” Directed by Richard Knox Robinson, Ekphratic Productions LLC, 2010