Arshad Ali

Arshad Ali
Assistant Professor
Educational Research
(202) 994-0272


Dr. Arshad I. Ali is an educator, youth worker, and scholar who studies youth culture, race, identity, and democratic engagement. He earned a masters degree at Harvard University and a doctorate at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. He has held postdoctoral fellowships at Columbia University and University College London.

Dr. Ali’s research examines the construction of racial identities through exploring the tropes of democracy, liberalism, and modernity in the lives of the youth. The fundamental question he is concerned with is how young people from historically marginalized communities come to make sense of urban life in the U.S., and how they find meaning in their lives through understanding the manifestations of political and cultural ideologies in daily action.

Dr. Ali is completing a book length manuscript examining the cultural geography of Muslim student surveillance. This book examines how economies of surveillance are scaled, both legally and ideologically, and how these scales of surveillance become manifest in the lives of Muslim undergraduates in the United States. Dr. Ali is co-editing At War: Challenging Racism, Militarism, and Materialism in Education, a collection of essays commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence.

Prior to pursuing a Ph.D, he served as the founding director of MAPS, a university based outreach and political education program working with students in South Los Angeles. He currently serves as an executive board member for the People’s Community Organization for Reform and Empowerment. He has actively been a part of youth, community and student organizing for over a fifteen years.


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
Ed.M., Harvard University
B.A., University of California, Los Angeles


Ali, A. I. (2016), Citizens under Suspicion: Responsive Research with Community under Surveillance. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 47: 78–95. doi:10.1111/aeq.12136

Ali. A. I. (2014). Quelling Dissent: Disciplining Liberalism on Muslim College Students’ Speech and Action. Critical Education, 5 (18), 1-18.

Ali, A. I. (2014). A threat enfleshed: Muslim college students situate their identities amidst portrayals of Muslim violence and terror. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 27 (10), 1243-1261.

Ali, A. (2009). 'Radical Education in the Critical Moment: Envisioning a Revolutionary Praxis of Language, Teaching and Race in a Time of War' In M. Eryaman (Ed.), Peter McLaren, Education, and the Struggle for Liberation: Revolution as Education. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Gutiérrez, K., Ali, A. & Henríquez, C. (2009). 'Syncretism and Hybridity: Schooling, Language, and Race and Students from Non-dominant Communities' In M. Apple, S. Ball & L. Gandin (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Education . New York: Routledge.

Ali, A., Wells, L., Medina, D., Valladares, S., Oakes, J. & Rogers, J. (2007). African American Educational Opportunity Report 2007. Los Angeles: UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access.

Ali, A., Wells, L., Oakes, J. & Rogers, J. (2007). Roadblocks to College for African American Students: A Report on California's Educational Opportunities. Los Angeles: Bunche Center for African American Studies & University of California All Campus Consortium for Research on Diversity.

In the News

Dr. Arshad Ali will present on Friday, March 3 as part of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education's Askwith Forum panel entitled Take Action: Advancing Justice and Equity in Today's Climate.

Dr. Arshad Ali helped to organize and present as part of the National Teach-In on the Presidential Executive Order Banning Muslims, Immigrants, and Refugees. The virtual panel included lawyers, scholars, educators and activists from around the country who are working on these issues. In case you missed it, you can watch a recording of the event here.

Dr. Arshad I. Ali gave an invited talk hosted by the Office of Institutional Diversity at California State University-East Bay as part of their Week of Inclusive Excellence entitled Citizen Suspect: Political Literacy and Muslim Youth Futures in a Post 9-11 USA.

Dr. Arshad I. Ali chaired a session called Ethnographic records as evidence: knowledge, erasure, and the discoverable at the American Anthropological Association's Annual Conference. He presented a paper entitled The ethnographic record as archive: epistemic tensions and the construction of evidence with Muslim youth.

Dr. Arshad Ali gave invited talks this week at the University of Minnesota. He presented An Empire's State of Mind and Ethical Dilemmas of Doing Research in High Surveillance Environment. He discussed questions such as: How do you conduct research with students and their communities in an ethical manner? How do we work with communities that are surveilled?