Joseph Powell

Dr Joseph Powell


Joseph's research explores Rastafari spirituality and its broader connections with pertinent issues of the present era. Fusing theological and anthropological research methods, Joseph has conducted research amongst Rastafari communities in St Lucia, Jamaica, and the UK.

Joseph Powell

Joseph studied Theology at the University of Exeter, before moving on to MPhil study in Theology (World Christianities) and then a PhD in Theology, both at the University of Cambridge. He has also been a Lecturer at Birmingham Newman University and a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham.

His current role is as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge.  He has taught on papers ranging from 'Understanding Contemporary Religion' to 'Themes in World Christianities'. Joseph also convened a module on the interaction between the historic interaction between Christianity and food at St Albans Cathedral. For his innovative and student-led approach to teaching Joseph has been appointed Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Joseph is a co-convenor of the Indigenous Studies Discussion Group at Cambridge where he has organised a diverse range of panel events and an international research conference. He is also Editor of the Methodist theology and praxis journal Holiness based at Wesley House, Cambridge, and a former editor of the Faculty of Divinity student research journal Noesis.

Joseph’s research primary research focus is Rastafari spirituality in the Caribbean and the UK. His recent PhD thesis explored Rastafari ecologies and ecotheologies through ethnographic fieldwork in St Lucia/Iyanola. This built on his MPhil research which explored contemporary dietary practices amongst Rastafari communities in Jamaica and the UK. Joseph has produced numerous journal articles, conference papers, and encyclopedia entries on Rastafari, spanning the elemental language of Rastafari-influenced music to Rastafari encounters with Covid-19.

Joseph's British Academy-funded research project will explore Rastafari encounters with violence, both physical and cosmological, through ethnographic research amongst Rastafari civilians and those serving in military and police roles. This project will include an online exploration and exposition, curated alongside Cambridge Digital Humanities, of the ‘soundscapes’ that frame these interactions. Joseph also maintains an active interest in the interaction between faith and football.

What's on

A triptych of three plant-themed paintings: the left shows large leaves, the center features a dark forest scene, and the right depicts vibrant, stylized foliage and flowers.

Art Exhibition: 'Life Within Landscapes'

09/06/2024 at 10.00

Explore Wolfson's newest exhibition, 'Life Within Landscapes', showcasing works by three Cambridge-based female contemporary artists, inspired by their Caribbean heritage.

Two images side by side: on the left, a woman holding a clarinet smiles at the camera; on the right, a woman dressed in green plays the violin intently.

The Mary Bevan Recital: Lola Frisby Williams (clarinet) & Imaan Kashim (violin)

16/06/2024 at 19.00

Join us for our annual Mary Bevan concert with prize winners of the prestigious Cambridge University Concerto Competition.

Promotional graphic for Wolfson May Ball 2024, themed "dreamscapes," featuring an illustration of a figure in a canoe with a lantern and a silhouette of a face on a wavy backdrop.

Wolfson May Ball 2024: Dreamscapes

21/06/2024 at 20.00

Step from one dreamscape to the next, on a journey from restful lullabies to surrealist whimsy to thrilling nightmares, and emerge forever changed…

Boxes filled with assorted cupcakes topped with various frosting flavours and sprinkles.

Foundation Day Celebrations

28/06/2024 at 10.00

It's Wolfson's birthday! Wherever you are in the world, celebrate with us at one of our Foundation Day events.

Graduands stand together for group photo

Graduation Ceremony - General Admission

29/06/2024 at 09.00

Graduation ceremonies are the culmination of students’ hard work and commitment, and a moment to celebrate the completion of their Cambridge degree.