自1980年代起就因其在中国文化艺术研究领域的突出表现受邀他还长期担任Ars Orientalis的编审；Getty Grant Program 盖蒂基金、的顾问等职。
Professor Powers has been highly acclaimed as a sinologist and historian of art both in China and abroad. He early on developed a profound interest in Chinese culture and art, publishing four monographs, two of them having won the Levenson Prize for best book in pre-1900 Chinese Studies. He as also edited or co-edited three volumes, and has published more than 50 articles on a wide range of topics. In addition, he designed the educational website chinamirror.net, which provides source materials on Chinese history for advanced high school and college teachers. He has participated in more than 110 scholarly conferences and projects and mentored more than 30 Ph.D. students. He has been instrumental in promoting greater appreciation and understanding of Chinese culture in the West and has contributed to the international standing of the field of Chinese Art History.
From the 1980s onward his reputation grew with a Mellon Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in National Gallery, as well as awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and many more. He was the first scholar of Asian Art to be invited to the Getty Institute for the Humanities. He has served as reviewer or selection board member for the Center for Advanced Studies, NEH, the Getty Institute, and many more.
His research has made use of art historical methods to examine the social and political history of China, reshaping the international standing of Chinese culture. Professor Powers’ reputation developed from the 1980s onward. Since then he has participated in scholarly activities in America, Europe, and China. He has been a resident scholar or has delivered papers at Bonn and Gottingen Universities, Germany; The University of Alberta, Canada; East Anglia University in England; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; Yale University; Harvard University; The Princeton Institute for Advanced Study; Academia Sinica in Taipei; The Chinese University in Hong Kong; the Institute for National Studies at Tsinghua University; the National Palace Museum, Beijing; and has served as honorary professor at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, among others.
His research has been foundational for the study of the interplay between Chinese art and socio-political institutions, and has advanced the study of social history, reshaping the international standing of Chinese culture. In addition, his work has provoked the rethinking of mistaken narratives about Chinese culture in the Western Academy. He is among the most renowned scholars in the fields of Chinese Art History and Chinese Studies.