Katy E. Pearce is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington and holds affiliations with the Ellison Center for Russian East European, and Central Asian Studies and the Center for an Informed Public. Her research focuses on social and political uses of technologies and digital content in the transitioning democracies and semi-authoritarian states of the South Caucasus and Central Asia, but primarily Armenia and Azerbaijan. She has a BA (2001) in Armenian, Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Islamic Studies as well as American Culture from the University of Michigan, an MA (2006) in International Studies from the University of London School for Oriental and African Studies, and a PhD (2011) in Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was a Fulbright scholar (Armenia 2007-2008; Azerbaijan 2014-2015).
Before academia, I worked in Information and Communication Technology for Development in the Caucasus. I also worked at the U.S. Department of State on public opinion polling in Eurasia.
The main thrust of my research is adoption and use of information and communication technologies in diverse cultural, economic, and political contexts, mainly authoritarian post-Soviet states. The adoption side, I look at barriers to use – often socioeconomic, but sometimes political or cultural. On the outcome of ICT use side, I study outcomes like decreasing or increasing inequality due to ICTs, cosmopolitanism, capital enhancement, civic engagement, demand for democracy, and social activism.
Methodologically, most of my earlier work is quantitative modeling while much of my more recent work is qualitative, due to the nature of the questions that I’m currently working on.