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Brueggle city at night

Jamin R. Pelkey


Photograph of Jamin Pelkey

Office: JOR 525A
Telephone: 416-979-5000 ex. 2523


Biographical Sketch:

Jamin Pelkey is Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. He joined the department in 2013 following five years of university teaching in British Columbia and more than a decade of field experience in the eastern hemisphere--including China, Thailand and Australia. Dr. Pelkey holds a PhD in Linguistics from La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia--funded in full and awarded with merit in 2009. His areas of specialization include Linguistic Anthropology, Embodied Cognition, Tibeto-Burman Linguistics, Historical Linguistics and Semiotics. He is an award winning teacher and researcher with two federal grants, including “Steps to a Grammar of Embodied Symmetry” (SSHRC-IDG #430-2015-01226), two Dean's Awards—for teaching (2015) and research (2018)—the Mouton d’Or Award for best article in Semiotica (2017) and the Ryerson University Early Research Career Excellence Award (2018).

Dr. Pelkey's first two published monographs (Dialectology as Dialectic, De Gruyter 2011; A Phula Comparative Lexicon, SIL 2011) define the Phula ethnolinguistic groups of China and Vietnam, identifying 18 new languages through mixed-methods fieldwork and analysis.  His latest research focuses on language evolution and the chiasmus figure (X), leading to the publication of his third authored book, The Semiotics of X (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017). He has edited or co-edited seven collections, including Sociohistorical Linguistics in Southeast Asia (Brill, 2017), Virtual Identities (PDC 2016), The Semiotics of Paradox (Legas 2015) and Why Semiotics? (Legas 2014). His recent research is published in collections such as Biosemiotic Perspectives in Language and Linguistics; Meaning, Mind and Communication and Mind in Mathematics—and in international journals such as Semiotica, Cognitive Semiotics, The Journal of Literary Semantics, Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, Reviews in Anthropology, Studies in Language and Diachronica. In addition to many other modes of international scholarship and service, Dr. Pelkey is Vice President of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics, Executive Member of the Semiotic Society of America, past Editor of the Semiotic Society of America Yearbook series Semiotics, Managing Editor ofThe Amercian Journal of Semiotics and Founding Editor of the Berghahn book series Studies in Linguistic Anthropology.