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Brent Luvaas, PhD

Brent Luvaas, PhD

Associate Professor
Graduate Faculty Member, Communication, Culture &
Center for Science, Technology and Society
Department of Global Studies and Modern Languages
Office: Academic Building, 317
Phone: 215.571.3660
Fax: 215.895.1333

Additional Sites:


  • University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, PhD, Anthropology, 2009.
  • University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, MA, Anthropology, 2004.
  • University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, Highest Honors, BA, Anthropology, Minor, Southeast Asian Studies, 1998

Curriculum Vitae:

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Research Interests:

  • Visual Anthropology
  • Digital technologies and mediated cities
  • Photography and the urban imagination
  • Street photography, street fashion, and street style blogging
  • DIY, amateur, and independent media
  • New Media and Mediated subjectivities
  • United States and Southeast Asia


A cultural and visual anthropologist, Brent Luvaas studies how digital technologies shape the ways we see, imagine, and experience the world around us. With a regional focus on the United States and Southeast Asia, he has worked with independent musicians, outsider fashion labels, bloggers, photographers, and other kinds of do-it-yourself (DIY) creative laborers, who make use of new digital technologies to produce and circulate their work. He is interested in how digital technologies enable, and indeed require, new kinds of production and circulation, and in the points of intersection between creative labor and national development, self-expression and brand promotion, technological imagination and global capitalist expansion.

He has published widely, in journals including Cultural Anthropology, American Anthropologist, Visual Communication, and Visual Studies, and is the former co-editor of the journal Visual Anthropology Review. His first book, DIY Style: Fashion, Music, and Global Digital Cultures, was an ethnographic investigation of the indie music and fashion scene in Indonesia. His second book, Street Style: An Ethnography of Fashion Blogging, was a richly photo-illustrated, ethnographic account of street style blogging at a moment when street style was moving from amateur practice to industry staple. The book was the 2019 winner of the Society for Visual Anthropology’s John Collier Jr. Award for Still Photography. He also co-edited with Joanne Eicher The Anthropology of Dress and Fashion: A Reader.

His latest research is about the street photography renaissance in the digital age, the growing popularity for one of the oldest genres of photography made possible by digital mirrorless cameras and social media platforms. He is an avid photographer himself, and is currently exploring the utility of photography for cultivating new ways of seeing and experiencing the urban environment.

Selected Publications:

  • Shadow Worlding: Chasing Light in Yogyakarta, in American Anthropologist 124: 399-416, 2022.
  • Smudged Windows: Scenes from Home During a Pandemic, in Visual Studies 36(2): 85-105, 2021.
  • Intimate Alienation: Street Photography as a Mediation of Distance, in Photographies 14(2): 287-306, 2021.
  • The Philadelphia Look: Exploring Urban Place-Making through Street Style Photography, in City & Society: 32(2): 345-367, 2020.
  • Unbecoming: The Aftereffects of Autoethnography, in Ethnography 20(2): 245-262, 2019.
  • The Camera and the Anthropologist: Reflections on Photographic Agency, in Visual Anthropology 32(1): 76-96, 2019
  • The Anthropology of Dress and Fasion: A Reader (editor, with Joanne Eicher) London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2019.
  • Street Style Geographies: Re-Mapping the Fashion Blogipelago, in International Journal of Fashion Studies 5(2): 289-308, 2018.
  • Post No Bill: The Transience of New York City Street Style, in Fashion Studies 1(1): 1-20, 2018.
  • Unbecoming: The Aftereffects of Autoethnography, in Ethnography,, 2017.
  • The Affective Lens, in Anthropology & Humanism 42(2): 163-179, 2017.
  • What Does a Fashion Influencer Look Like? Portraits of the Instafamous, in Fashion, Style, and Popular Culture 4(3): 341-364, 2017.
  • Street Style: An Ethnography of Fashion Blogging. London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2016.
  • Internet Famous in Real Life: Becoming a Street Style Star at New York Fashion Week, in Cultural Anthropology 31(2) online edition, 2016.
  • Indonesian Fashion Blogs: On the Promotional Subject of Personal Style, in Fashion Theory, 17(1): 55-76, 2013.
  • Shooting Street Style in Indonesia: A Photo Essay, in Clothing Cultures 1(1): 59-81, 2013.
  • Material Interventions: Indonesian DIY Fashion and the Regime of the Global Brand, in Cultural Anthropology 28(1): 127-143, 2013.
  • Exemplary Centers and Musical Elsewheres: Performing Authenticity and Autonomy in Indonesian Indie Music, in Asian Music 44(2): 95-114, 2013.
  • Third World No More: Re-Branding Indonesian Streetwear, in Fashion Practice 5(2): 203-228, 2013.
  • DIY Style: Fashion, Music, and Global Digital Cultures, London and New York: Berg, 2012.
  • Designer Vandalism: Indonesian Indie Fashion and the Cultural Practice of Cut ’n’ Paste in Visual Anthropology Review 26(1): 1-16, 2010.
  • Dislocating Sounds: The Deterritorialization of Indonesian Indie Pop, in Cultural Anthropology 24(2): 246-279, 2009.
  • Re-Producing Pop: The Ambivalent Aesthetics of a Contemporary Dance Music, in International Journal of Cultural Studies 9(2): 167-187, 2006.