Ali Rachel Pearl is faculty at the University of Southern California, where she previously 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, and organizer whose work focuses on race, gentrification, place-making, archives, surveillance, and policing. Her writing appears in Kenyon Review Online; Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, & Technology; Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures; Redivider; DIAGRAM; The New York Times; and elsewhere. Formerly, she served as fiction editor at Copper Nickel (c. 2008) and editor-in-chief at Gold Line Press (c. 2017). She lives in Los Angeles.
Ali’s 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 journalistic reporting, 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 this rapidly changing neighborhood, but to connect the struggles and resilience of the area to neighborhoods across the city, state, and country.
Ali’s creative work (fiction & nonfiction) is interested in themes of queerness, love, capitalism, kinship, re-writing history, and place (particularly the Mojave Desert).
Her teaching has spanned a wide variety of subjects (read more under Courses), and she is currently teaching two different writing courses at the University of Southern California: an introductory class about our educational institutions and an advanced class on place-making and creative non-fiction.
Ali’s occasional scholarly research is interdisciplinary and grounded in critical race studies + feminist methodologies that recognize politics, identity, and ways of being/knowing as inextricably linked. Her work considers how digital technology intersects with race, surveillance, policing, and power. She also specializes in archives, social media, and digital culture, particularly in relationship to social justice activism and cultural memory.