Sumin  Zhao Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Sumin Zhao

Carlsberg Research Fellow
University of Southern Denmark

Sumin Zhao is a Carlsberg Research Fellow at the University of Southern Denmark. Her research focuses on critical and multimodal discourse analysis, and digital literacies and multilingualism in early childhood. Recent co-edited books include Critical multimodal studies of popular discourse (Routledge, 2014, paperback 2016), Advancing Critical and multimodal discourse studies (Routledge, 2017). Her monograph The Social Semiotics of Book Apps is forthcoming in 2019 (Bloomsbury).


I am a linguistic/semiotician trained in the tradition of Social Semiotics and Systematic Functional Linguistics, with a specialisation in critical and multimodal discourse analysis. My main research areas include digital textual artefacts, literacy practices of young multilingual children and visual social media.  

My research applies fine-grained semiotic analysis to investigate multiple dimensions of a social-techno phenomenon. I have worked with a range of digital textual and technological artefacts, including hypermedia, PowerPoint, book apps, selfies and WeChat, in different contexts, such as online learning, university lectures, home-based (bilingual) literacy practices, life style magazines and mommy blogging. I am skilled at a variety of analytical methods, including grammatical, semantic, discursive, visual, gesture and inter-semiotic.

My research is interdisciplinary in its nature, crossing the boundaries between discourse studies and (social) media studies, HCI, literacy studies, early childhood studies, multilingualism and visual studies. I experiment with different methodological approaches and am interested in social cultural theories of learning (e.g. Vygotsky and Bernstein) and critical social cultural theories (e.g. Barthes, Bourdieu, and Foucault).

I am currently a Carlsberg Distinguished Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Multimodal Communication, University of Southern Denmark and the Book Reviewer Editor for Discourse and Communication. I received my PhD in Linguistics from the University of Sydney in 2012 and held a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Technology Sydney between 2013 and 2016. In 2015 and 2016, I was a Visiting Research Associate at UCL Insitute of Education.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Multiliteracies; Digital literacy and multilingualism in the early years; Social media and visual literacies; Design and use of digital texts; Picture Books; Critical & multimodal discourse analysis; Social semiotics; Functional grammar


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 Featured Title - Zhao et al_Advancing Multimodal and Critical Discourse - 1st Edition book cover