Dr. Sally Campbell Pirie (she/her/hers) is an anthropologist, visual artist, qualitative methodologist and advocate for gender diverse children and young people. Her research interests include the anthropology of childhood and family, arts-based and comics-based qualitative and ethnographic research methods, gender diversity, and labor force feminization. She is the Principal Investigator of the Gender Moxie Project. This project, generously funded by the Spencer Foundation, focuses on understanding transgender and other gender-diverse children’s experiences and resiliencies through an interdisciplinary and art-informed lens. Along with colleague Dr. Laura Alicia Valdiviezo, she served as Editor-in-Chief of Anthropology and Education Quarterly for two editorial terms, concluding in 2019. She is currently on the editorial team of Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures and Pedagogy, Culture and Society. She serves as a member of the editorial board of Qualitative Research and Anthropology and Humanism. Sally was born and grew up in northern Japan and graduated from Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is currently Professor of Child and Family Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and was the 2020 University of Minnesota Morris Distinguished Visiting Professor of Liberal Arts.
Professor Pirie is a 2021 recipient of the Grinnell College Alumni Award for her distinguished service, embodying the social justice and community service principles of Grinnell College.
And, she’s young at heart https://www.umass.edu/education/values/challenging-conventional-wisdom-childhood.
Follow her on Twitter! @ProfessorMommy and Amazon and at Academia.edu and also via ORCID at
Here are some very nice things people have said about her work:
“Sally has chosen to utilize her unique skills in the service of a more socially just world. The content of her academic career has continuously involved such issues: the gendered nature of treatment of boys and girls in schools, the work-life issues of teachers, educators’ treatment of migrant families, and most recently, transgender and gender nonconforming children. These subjects are not merely of academic interest. And, over the past decade and a half, Sally Campbell Galman has almost single-handedly put cartooning on the map as a research and teaching tool. Nobody else can do what she does.” -Mitch Allan, Left Coast Press.
In Gottlieb, A. (2020). Writing about children for a public forum. Public Anthropology (2) 2020, 37-81.
New inventive ethnographic writing about children also includes a textbook by American anthropologist of childhood and education, Sally Campbell Galman, focused on how to ethnographically study children — but written in the form of an illustrated book drawing on the genre of comic strips. In fact, this is the third in a trilogy of books written by Galman, who also happens to be a talented artist, and she has applied both her verbal and artistic skills to creating a trio of comic book-style textbooks that have proven wildly successful with students. Aside from their obvious visual interest, Galman points out that “Comics have the potential to democratize the academic establishment, or at least question and then expand the boundaries of legitimacy.” (p. 51).
As Keith Hart has recently written, “The world is changing all around us and anthropology must try to keep up, not just because we study this world as anthropologists, but because our students live in it and they are rapidly leaving their teachers behind.” Hart has online communications in particular in mind, but the point is easily expanded to other writing modes. As Sally Campbell Galman has said in an interview about her comic book-style textbook series: any time we push the boundaries of what “counts” as a legitimate text, of who can be the voice of scholarship and science, of what that “voice” looks like and of who we purport our readership to be we democratize the profession and make knowledge more accessible to more people. Happily, we anthropologists are, finally, learning skills from journalists, bloggers, and other adventurous writers – and vice versa, I hope. And so, the conversation continues.” (p. 59).
Sally has published lots and lots and lots of things under a previous surname, Galman. She’s working on retroactively changing things around the best she can. For more on the Name Game and how it works to disadvantage, confuse and disrupt the lives of many women and girls, see here.