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Issues of race periodically rupture in the national and international consciousness, while at other times, there is a false belief that society has arrived at a post-racial era. Either way, there remains impetus for the critical interrogation of the racialisation of multimodal literacies in education, and critical race theory (CRT) is a leading approach. This article reviews original studies that collectively analyse multimodal texts and practices to understand the construction of race in education. Multimodal texts have proliferated in online textual ecologies due to the ease of production and rapid global dissemination of image-based texts in the twenty-first century. Such texts combine two or more modes, such as images, words, sounds, and gestures. Sites for the circulation of multimodal literacies – online and offline – serve to disrupt, reify, or perhaps even exacerbate racial identities, prejudice, and subordination in education. The review highlights the prevalent themes: (a) Discursive construction of race in the spoken mode, (b) Anti-racist and multimodal counter-narratives, (c) The racialisation of multimodal literature for children and adolescents, and (d) Race in music, visual and performing arts, and digital media. Gaps in CRT research and challenges are posed for future research of race in the context of cultural and technological change.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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