Alexander Cho

Assistant Professor

Office Location

HSSB 5032


Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, Media Studies

Asian American media studies, digital and social media, human-centered design, popular culture, gender and sexuality studies, learning and education, ethnography, critical race theory, affect.


Alexander Cho is a media scholar, digital design researcher, critical theorist, and pop culture geek. He teaches classes at UCSB on Asian Americans in media as well as on gender and sexuality. His research combines critical race theory, queer theory, design thinking, and ethnography to explore how marginalized populations use social media as a tool for self-expression and social change and explores how social media contain values and power structures built into their design. He was previously a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Informatics at UC Irvine.

He is co-editor of a tumblr book: Platform and Cultures (Michigan 2020), co-author of The Digital Edge: How Black and Latino Youth Navigate Digital Inequality (NYU 2018), and is currently completing a monograph examining the interdependence of queerness, race, and the design of social media. His lead-authored, peer-reviewed research has appeared in publications such as CHI: The Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems; New Media & Society; and Foundations of Digital Games. His research and expertise regarding social media has been quoted or referenced in popular press outlets as diverse as The Wall Street Journal, CBC Radio, Catapult, and Pitchfork.

In addition to his research and teaching, Professor Cho also regularly engages in community-oriented scholarship and policy/advocacy work, such as his lead-authored white paper for UNICEF on youth digital civic engagement practices as well as practitioner-oriented thought leadership around youth and digital media in venues such as the Parenting for a Digital Future initiative and the Connected Learning Alliance.

Prior to his academic research and teaching, Professor Cho was a journalist in the LGBTQIA+ media, most notably as the Editor of the Southern California newsmagazine Frontiers, where he secured the worldwide exclusive coming out interview with Star Trek’s Asian American icon, George Takei.



Alexander ChoThe Passionate Terrain: Queer Youth of Color, Affect, and the Shape of Social Media. In preparation.

Allison McCracken, Alexander Cho, Louisa Stein & Indira Neill Hoch, Eds. a tumblr book: Platform and Culture. The University of Michigan Press. In production. Forthcoming 2020.

S. Craig Watkins with Andres Lombana-Bermudez, Alexander Cho, Vivian Shaw, Jacqueline Ryan Vickery and Lauren Weinzimmer. The Digital Edge: How Black and Latino Youth Navigate Digital Inequality. New York: NYU Press. December 2018.



Alexander Cho, A.M. Tsaasan, & Constance Steinkuehler. “The Building Blocks of an Educational Esports League: Lessons from Year One in Orange County High Schools.” In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG ’19)Best Paper (Honorable Mention).

Alexander Cho, Roxana Herrera, Luis G. Chaidez, & Adilene Uriostegui. “The ‘Comadre’ Project: An Asset-Based Design Approach to Connecting Low-Income Latinx Families to Out-of-School Learning Opportunities.” In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’19).

Alexander Cho“Default Publicness: Queer Youth of Color, Social Media, and Being Outed by the Machine.” New Media & Society 20(9) pp. 3183-3200. (OnlineFirst: Dec. 12, 2017).


Alexander Cho, Vivian Shaw & S. Craig Watkins. “Dissonant Futures.” In The Digital Edge: How Black and Latino Youth Navigate Digital Inequality. Ed. S. Craig Watkins. New York: NYU Press. December 2018.

Alexander Cho“Disruptive Joy: #BlackOutDay’s Affirmative Resonances.” In A Networked Self and Love. Ed. Zizi Papacharissi. New York: Routledge. 2018.

Alexander Cho. “Queer Reverb: Tumblr, Affect, Time.” In Networked Affect. Eds. Paasonen, Susanna, Ken Hillis & Michael Petit. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2015.

Alexander Cho. “Social Media,” “Hapa,” & “Eurasian” encyclopedia entries. In Multicultural America: A Multimedia Encyclopedia. Ed. Cortés, Carlos E. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2013.

Spence, J.; Straubhaar, J.; Cho, A., & Graber, D. “Structuring Race in the Cultural Geography of Austin.” In The Persistence of Inequality in the Technopolis: Race, Class, and the Digital Divide in Austin, Texas. Spence, J. and Straubhaar, J. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 2012.


AS AM 118: Asian Americans in Popular Culture

AS AM 127: Asian American Film, Television, and Digital Media

AS AM 8: Introduction to Asian American Gender and Sexuality