Bio

Meryl Alper is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University. Her research explores the social and cultural implications of communication technologies, with a focus on disability and digital media, children and families’ technology use, and mobile communication. She is especially interested in the opportunities and challenges that media and technology provide young people with developmental disabilities and their families in the digital age. She integrates theoretical, empirical, and archival methods in this work and employs a historical, sociological, and critical/cultural perspective.

Alper is the author of Digital Youth with Disabilities (MIT Press, 2014) and Giving Voice: Mobile Communication, Disability, and Inequality (MIT Press, 2017). Giving Voice received an Honorable Mention in the Media and Cultural Studies category of the 2018 PROSE Awards, sponsored annually by the Association of American Publishers, as well as the 2018 Outstanding Publication in the Sociology of Disability Award from the Disability and Society section of the American Sociological Association. 

For 2018-2019, Alper will be a Faculty Fellow with the Northeastern Humanities Center, a Faculty Scholar with the Northeastern University Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research, and a Dean’s Research Fellow with Northeastern’s College of Arts, Media, and Design. She is also a past Faculty Associate with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Prior to joining the faculty at Northeastern, Alper earned her doctoral and master’s degrees from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and History from Northwestern University, as well as a certificate in Early Childhood Education from UCLA.

Alper has worked for over a decade in the children’s media industry. As an undergraduate at Northwestern, she was Lab Assistant Manager in the NSF-funded Children’s Digital Media Center/Digital-Kids Lab and interned in the Education & Research Department at Sesame Workshop in New York. Post graduation, she worked in Los Angeles as a Research Manager for Nickelodeon.

Her research has been published in New Media & Society, International Journal of Communication, and IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, among other journals. She has been awarded four Top Paper awards by the International Communication Association for her sole-authored work across multiple ICA divisions. Her research and popular writing has also been featured in a range of venues, including The Guardian, The Atlantic, Motherboard, and Wired.

Meryl Alper can be reached via email at m.alper@northeastern.edu, and on Twitter @merylalper.