Ali Rachel Pearl is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California, where she also earned a PhD from the Department of English and a certificate in Digital Media + Culture from the School of Cinematic Arts. She is a writer, teacher, organizer, and scholar who studies race, archives, surveillance, policing, and digital culture. Her creative work and scholarship appear in Kenyon Review Online; Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, & Technology; Cosmonauts Avenue; Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures; Redivider; DIAGRAM; The New York Times; and elsewhere. She perviously served as fiction editor at Copper Nickel and Editor-in-Chief at Gold Line Press. Most of the year, she lives and teaches in Los Angeles.
Ali’s interdisciplinary research is grounded in critical race studies and feminist methodologies that recognize politics and ways of being/knowing as inextricably linked. Her work considers how digital technology intersects with race, surveillance, policing, and power. She specializes in archives, social media, and digital culture, particularly in relationship to social justice activism and cultural memory.
Her on-going community work focuses on the material circumstances of her neighborhood, East Hollywood. Alongside her journalist neighbors, Ali has developed arts and educational materials that highlight East Hollywood’s history of redlining and co-organized a public art campaign & panel series on redlining, gentrification, and housing in the area. The team is currently running a weekly newsletter on substack called Making A Neighborhood which shares photo essays, interviews, long-form storytelling, book reviews, local histories, portraits of East Hollywood, and reflections on community making in an effort to not only document our rapidly changing neighborhood, but to connect the struggles and resilience of our area to neighborhoods across the city, state, and country.
Her dissertation, Archiving Ephemerality: The Politics of Preservation, questioned the political implications of digital archives, taking as its primary focus the methodologies involved in documenting ephemeral art forms such as street art, digital feminist performance art, and electronic literature.
Ali’s creative work (fiction & creative nonfiction) is interested in themes of queerness, love, capitalism, kinship, re-writing history, and the Mojave Desert.