Martin Powers is the Sally Michelson Davidson Professor of Chinese Arts and Cultures. He is the former director of the Center for Chinese Studies. In 2006-8 he was the Director of Undergraduate Studies. He was twice awarded the Association for Asian Studies Joseph Levenson Book Prize for best book (Pre-1900 China) for his books Art and Political Expression in Early China (Yale University Press, 1991) and Pattern and Person: Ornament, Society, and Self in Classical China (Harvard University Press East Asian Series, 2007).
Powers received his BA in 1971 from Shimer College, a Great Books school then located in Mount Carroll, Illinois, but now located in Chicago. He obtained his MA and Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of Chicago, in 1974 and 1978 respectively. He has held the Davidson professorship since 1998, and has taught at Michigan since 1987; from 1977 to 1987 he taught at UCLA.