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, scholar, and teacher whose work lives at the intersections of race, archives, and digital culture. Her creative work and scholarship appear in or are forthcoming from 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. 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 epistemologies as inextricably linked. Her work considers how digital technology intersects with race, surveillance, and power. She specializes in archives, social media, and digital culture, particularly in relationship to social justice activism and cultural memory.
Her first in-progress book, Archiving Ephemerality: The Politics of Preservation, questions 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. Her second in-progress project, The Streets of Instagram: Image Circulation & Protest Movements in the 21st Century, exposes the possibilities and vulnerabilities of documenting protest with Instagram by considering how Instagram gets constructed as a “place” to be infiltrated, how the history of atrocity and protest image circulation relates to the circulation of protest images in that “place,” and how that “place” is structured, controlled, and policed by proprietary algorithms, surveillance, and data collection to which protest images are subjected.
Ali’s creative work is interested in themes of queerness, love, capitalism, kinship, re-writing history, and the deserts of the American Southwest. She can’t seem to figure out a way to differentiate between her academic bio and her creative writing/artist bio but she doesn’t believe in those kinds of distinctions anyway.