Sharrona Pearl, Ph.D.

Phone: 215-898-8547


Culture and Communication studies.  The study of facial features, known as physiognomy, and their relationship to character traits. Visual culture; self-fashioning and visual judgment; science and performance; freak shows through history.

Sharrona Pearl is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. An expert on physiognomy – the study of facial features and their relationship to character traits – she previously was a post-doctoral fellow in the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature and in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University.  Her research has resulted in multiple articles, commissions in book reviews, and four entries in Dictionary of Nineteenth Century British Scientists.  She has served as a guest lecturer for MIT, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada and is the recipient of the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching and more recently, the Carolyn and Erwin Swann Foundation for Cartoon and Caricature Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Library of Congress.


Professor Pearl is currently exploring the use of images by scholars, focusing on a series of case studies including freak shows, atrocity photos, natural icons, and natural history museums.  She looks at the disciplining of the gaze through an educational or medical rhetoric that offers a kind of justification for the voyeurism of current scholarly practice as well as for audiences of the past.


About Faces: Physiognomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Dr. Pearl's first book is titled About Faces: Physiognomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Harvard University Press 2010).

More on the book here.

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