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Sharrona Pearl, Drexel University Associate Teaching Professor of Medical Ethics

Sharrona Pearl, PhD

Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Health Administration, Department of History
Department of History
Center for Science, Technology and Society
Africana Studies
Jewish Studies


  • PhD, History of Science, Harvard University, 2005
  • BA (hons.) York University, 1999

Curriculum Vitae:

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Research Interests:

  • Health humanities
  • Interdisciplinary historian and theorist of the face
  • Media and religion
  • Critical race, gender, and disability studies
  • Museums, collective, and archives


Sharrona Pearl is a historian and theorist of the face and body. A highly interdisciplinary scholar, Pearl has published widely on Victorian history of medicine, media and religion, and critical race, gender, and disability studies. She has a book forthcoming in the fall with Johns Hopkins University Press entitled Do I Know You? From Face Blindness to Super Recognition. This is the third in her face trilogy, following Face/On: FaceTransplants and the Ethics of the Other (Chicago UP: 2015) and About Faces: Physiognomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Harvard UP: 2010). She is currently writing a book on "The Mask" under contract with Bloomsbury Academic. Pearl maintains an active freelance profile, with bylines in a variety of newspapers and magazines including The Washington Post, Lilith, and Real Life Magazine. Pearl teaches courses across colleges at Drexel and strives to bring hands-on historical and ethics training to the classroom through creative pedagogy and community-based learning. She has served on the DEI Board of CNHP and currently sits on the Health Professions Equity Board at Drexel. Pearl is the co-editor of the Health Humanities series at Johns Hopkins University Press and sits on the editorial board of a number of journals in the field.

Selected Publications:


  • Do I Know You: From Face Blindness to Super Recognition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2023.
  • Face/On: Face Transplants and the Ethics of the Other, University of Chicago Press, 2017.
  • Images, Ethics, Technology, edited volume, Routledge, October 2015.
  • About Faces: Physiognomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Harvard University Press, February 2010.


  • “Introduction: Theorizing and Applying the Meaningfully Anecdotal Patient in Neurodiversity Research,” Notes and Research special issue, Sharrona Pearl, ed., 76:4 (December 2022), 1-5. Available at:
  • “Is There Dyslexia Without Reading?” Disability Studies Quarterly 42:1 (August 2022). Available at:
  • “COVID Mask Wearing: Identity and Materiality,” East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal (EASTS), coauthored with Scott Knowles and Rashawn Ray, 16:1 (2022), 117-123.
  • “Change Your Face, Change Your Life?: Prison Plastic Surgery as a way to Reduce Recidivism,” Journal for the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 77: 2 (April 2022), 217-246.
  • “Digital Collection: COVID-19 Vaccine Public Service Announcements (PSAs),” Advertising & Society Quarterly, 22:4 (2021). Available at
  • “#sorrynotsorry: a teaching module on advertising gaffes in the digital age,” ASQ, 21:2 (2020).
  • “Staying Angry: Black women’s resistance to racialized forgiveness in US police shootings,” Women’s Studies in Communication, 43:3 (2020), 271-291. DOI: 10.1080/07491409.2020.1744208
  • “Deglamming as Estrangement: Ugly in Monster, The Hours, and Cake,” Cinema Journal 8:1 (2020) 218-248. Available at:
  • “A Super Useless Super Hero: The Positive Framing of Super Recognition,” Semiotic Review, 7, Sept. 2019. Available at:
  • “Saving Faces,” Canadian Medical Association Journal, 190:16 (23 April 2018) E511-E512. Translated into Persian on 18 September 2022 at:آیا-پیوند-صورت،-هویت-فرد-را-تغییر-مید/
  • “Victorian Blockbuster Bodies and the Freakish Pleasure of Looking,” Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 38:2 (2016) 93-106.
  • “Bodies of Digital Celebrity,” with Dana Polan, Public Culture, 27:175 (January 2015) 185-192.
  • “The Image is (Not) the Event: Negotiating the Pedagogy of Controversial Events,” with Alexandra Sastre, Visual Communication Quarterly, 21:4 2014, 198-209.
  • “Exceptions to the Rule: Chabad-Lubavitch and the Digital Sphere,” Journal of Media and Religion, 13:3, 2014.
  • “Teaching Atrocity Without Images” AfterImage, 40:6 (May/June 2013) 16-20.
  • Visual Studies Section Guest Editor, special edition on “The Queer in the Clinic,” Journal of Medical Humanities 34:2 (June 2013) 299-300.
  • “Invictus as Coronation: Creating and Exporting a King,” in Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, 12:1(January-April 2012), 138-145.
  • “Neither Black Nor White: Drawing Irish-Americans,” “Éire-Ireland, 44:3&4 (Fall/Winter 2009) 171-199.
  • “Through a Mediated Mirror: The Photographic Physiognomy of Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond,” History of Photography, 33:3 (August 2009) 288-305.
  • “Building Beauty: Physiognomy on the Gas-Lit Stage,” Endeavour, 30:3 (September 2006) 84-89.


  • “Ugliness as Disfigurement in Life and Loves of the She-Devil and Flavor of the Month,” The Disfigured Face in American Literature, Film, and Television. Cornelia Klecker and Gudrun M. Grabher, ed. New York: Routledge, 2022, 59-76.
  • “Facing the Weight of God’s Glory: Exodus 33 and the Face-to-Face,” Reading Exodus. Beth Kissileff, ed. London: Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming.
  • “Watching While (Face) Blind: Clone Layering and Prosopagnosia,” Orphan Black: Performance, Gender, Biopolitics. Andrea Goulet and Robert Rushing, ed. London: Intellect Books, 2018, 77-92.
  • “Dazed and Abused: Gender and Mesmerism in Wilkie Collins’ A Woman in White and The Moonstone,” Victorian Literary Mesmerism. Martin Wills and Catherine Wynne, ed. New York and Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006, 163-182.