Ali Na photo

Ali Na

Assistant Professor

Film and Media

Arts and Science

533-6000 #77022

Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts Room 335

People Directory Affiliation Category

PhD Communication [Performance Studies, Media & Technology Studies, and Cultural Studies] (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies (Duke University)

M.A. Performance Studies (New York University)

B.A. Politics (Whitman College)

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Media and graduate programs in Screen Cultures & Curatorial Studies and Cultural Studies at Queen’s University.

I am a multidisciplinary scholar of media, performance, and culture with attention to race, gender, and sexuality. My scholarship is primarily concerned with questions of power, resistance, complicity, and ambivalence. Throughout my work, I aim to contextualize the limits and generative potential in digital media practices by reaching into the past and animating cultural histories in relation to contemporary anti-racist, queer, feminist, trans politics. In particular, I am invested in transnational Asian diasporic femininity and queerness as well as comparative racial histories related to the United States. Additionally, I am interested in the performance of media– that is the processes and experiential haptics of media – and performances through and alongside media technologies. As such, my scholarship traverses the areas of media installation, performance art, digital technologies, and popular cultures.

In addition to collaborative work on vulnerable media and unbearable appetites, I am working on two monograph projects.

Drawing on my doctoral work, my first book project is titled Trans Medial Performance: Affirming Asian/American Femininity Otherwise. Building with transnational Asian/American Studies, the project looks to develop a theoretical practice of affirming Asian and Asian diasporic femininity as expressed by media and performance makers. In order to demonstrate the political stakes of this tactic, I pose a selection of contemporary works in relation to socio-cultural histories that traverse long-ingrained imaginaries that fetishize and denigrate Asian hypersexuality, effeminacy, and trans perfection.

I am also working on a project that takes up the works and lives of Betye Saar, Ana Mendieta, Shigeko Kubota, and Nam June Paik. I am thinking through practices of these artists of color during the 1960’s and 1970’s in relation to material media studies history and contemporary digital practices. Ranging from Fluxus to the Black Arts Movement, this project is particularly concerned with embodiment in artistic practice as a precursor to the digital age with attention to materiality, processes, politics, degeneration, and obsolescence. I see this work as part of a broader objective to expand what counts as media theory, who counts as a media theorist, and what becomes the foundations of a discipline.

Selected Publications

Na, Ali. 2020. “Siliconicity: Yozmit and Performing a Trans Asian Horizon.” Theatre Journal 72 (3).

Na, Ali. 2019. “The Stuplime Loops of Becoming Slug: A Prosthetic Intervention in Orientalist Animality.” M/C – A Journal of Media and Culture

22 (5).

Na, Ali. 2019. “#AzizAnsariToo?: Desi Masculinity in America and Performing Funny Cute.” Women’s Studies in Communication 42 (3).

Na, Ali. 2018. “The Fetish of the Click: A Small History of the Computer Mouse as Vulva.” Feminist Media Studies 18 (2).

Na, Ali. 2017. “Gangnam Eth(n)ic: The Transnational Politics of YouTube.” Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies 13 (3).

Graduate Student Supervisees

Note for prospective graduate students: I am currently accepting graduate students only if their proposals closely align with my ongoing research projects. Research areas may include: queer, trans, and feminine Asian/Asian diasporic media/performance/arts; queer of color critique; performance of/and/in digital media; material media studies history; media-based arts and cultural politics; etc. Please additionally see the above project descriptions.


Edem Roberta Abbeyquaye

Syed Hammad Ali

Vivian Bingyu Sheng (co-supervised with Keren Zaiontz)

Zakary Jiwa

Darby Huk


Darshana Chakrabarty

Vince Vulam Ha

Peggy Fussell (co-supervised with Emily Pelstring)