Coedited by Samuel Collins, Matthew Durington, and Harjant Gill (Towson University)

The following is an excerpt from “Multimodality: An Invitation”:

This section used to be called Visual Anthropology. Its new name—Multimodal Anthropologies—reflects changes in the media ecologies we engage as anthropologists, changes that have broadened our perspective to include other forms of media practice, while remaining inclusive of visual anthropology. Many of these changes can be linked to three developments: (1) the (relative) democratization and integration of media production; (2) the shift towards engagement and collaboration in anthropological research; and (3) the dynamic roles of anthropologists vis-à-vis both the profession and the communities in which they work. Together, these changes suggest a new framework, multimodal anthropology, by which we mean not only an anthropology that works across multiple media, but one that also engages in public anthropology and collaborative anthropology through a field of differentially linked media platforms. This is not, however, a decisive “break” with the past. Many of us already practice multimodal anthropology. When we consider the different opportunities and possibilities for engaging with anthropologically intended media in the age of diverse tools and platforms, we see multimodal anthropology. When we look at the transmedia installations of Ethnographic Terminalia, we see articulations of multimodal anthropology. Multimodal anthropology is also encapsulated within the numerous visual, aural, and tactile media that anthropologists produce, post, and share—the growing decoupage of social media that is one symptom of a changing anthropological practice. Multimodal practice is not limited to self-identification as a visual anthropologist. Rather, it encompasses this subdiscipline and also invites practitioners from within and outside anthropology. Finally, we see multimodality in the ways communities of non-anthropologists interact with us, from para-ethnographic productions to critique and commentary.


Ethno/Graphic Storytelling: Communicating Research and Exploring Pedagogical Approaches through Graphic Narratives, Drawings, and Zines

August 19, 2019

These graphic essays explore how visual methods, such as comics and animation, aid us in telling engaging, memorable stories about our work.

Media Circulation of Images

April 26, 2019

A set of multimodal essays on the theme of "resemblance," with contributions from Sonay Ban, Jason Hopper, Bronwyn Isaacs, Cecilia Salvi, and Vaia Sigounas

Using Multimodality to Provide Holistic Context and Promote Engaged Learning in Tajen: Interactive

December 6, 2018

In this essay, the authors of "The Balinese Cockfight Reimagined: Tajen: Interactive and the Prospects for a Multimodal Anthropology" discuss their project and how they imagine it can be used inside and outside the classroom.

Ice Time: Transversal Knowledge Production between Hockey and Art

November 1, 2018

This multimodal essay explores Finnish ice hockey through a speculative design project.

Drawing Culture, or Ethnography as a Graphic Art: The Making of Lissa

June 7, 2018

In this post, Sherine Hamdy and Coleman Nye discuss the making of their graphic novel Lissa, with commentary from Julie Livingston.

The Knot in the Wood: The Call to Multimodal Anthropology

June 5, 2018

In this post, Roxanne Varzi describes her multimodal work in ethnographic fiction, film, and sound projects.

Minecraft Multimodal

May 16, 2018

“Minecraft Multimodal” was presented at the 2018 joint SVA/SCA conference, “Displacements.” It summarizes the multimodal editors’ philosophies and introduces some of the work that has been published in the section.

Repurpose, Remix, Bend: Piloting A Locally Defined Technology Curriculum

April 10, 2018

In this post, Casey Anderson describes his efforts to create a hands-on technology curriculum in rural Haiti.

With the Smartphone as Field Assistant: Designing, Making, and Testing EthnoAlly, a Multimodal Tool for Conducting Serendipitous Ethnography in a Multisensory World

February 21, 2018

In this post, Paolo S. H. Favero and Eva Theunissen show us how to use EthnoAlly, a smartphone-based fieldwork app.

The Workshop Sketchbook

November 1, 2017

This online sketchbook accompanies the essay, “Drawing as Radical Multimodality: Salvaging Patrick Geddes’s Material Methodology," and illustrates how drawing can be used in ethnographic research and reflection.