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"The recent reframing of the Visual Anthropology section in American Anthropologist was motivated by a sense that new technologies have democratizing power and that through multimodal forms we can address a shift toward engagement and collaboration in anthropological research (Collins, Durington, and Gill 2017). Our purpose in this essay is to engage and expand the discussion raised by Samuel Collins, Matthew Durington, and Harjant Gill in their 2017 article 'Multimodal Anthropology: An Invitation,' which has been widely cited and has helped to inspire a range of new projects in anthropology that do not prioritize text. Although the idea of multimodal anthropology may challenge dominant paradigms of authorship, expertise, capacity, and language, we argue that there is nothing inherently liberatory about multimodal approaches in anthropology. Therefore, as our discipline(s) increasingly advocates for the multimodal in the service of anthropology, there is a need for deep engagement with the multimodal's position as an expression of technoscientific praxis, which is complicit in the reproduction of power hierarchies in the context of global capitalism, 'capital accumulation' (Collins, Durington, and Gill 2017, 144), and other forms of oppression."


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in American Anthropologist, volume 121, issue 2, in 2019 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at DOI: 10.1111/aman.13265


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American Anthropological Association



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