You are now in the main content area
Jamin Pelkey

Jamin Pelkey PhD

Professor and Program Director
DepartmentLanguages, Literatures and Cultures
EducationPhD (La Trobe University), MA (Payap University), BA (Montana State University)
Memberships/ServicesYeates School of Graduate Studies
OfficePOD 249D
Phone416-979-5000 ext. 552523
Areas of ExpertiseSemiotics, linguistics, poetics, embodied cognition, anthropology of language, language evolution, Ngwi languages

Dr. Jamin Pelkey is Full Professor and Program Director in the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures and a core faculty member of the TMU-York Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture. He also serves as President of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association, President of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics, and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Semiotica, journal of the IASS-AIS. 

Dr. Pelkey joined the department in 2013 following five years of contract lecturing in British Columbia and more than a decade of international experience in China, Thailand, and Australia. He holds a PhD in Linguistics from La Trobe University, Melbourne (2009, with merit). His research explores questions of language and meaning, using mixed methods to discover how patterns of bodily experience relate to the evolution of human consciousness—from extreme ideologies to the creative imagination. He draws on insights from linguistics, poetics, anthropology, psychology, and philosophy to interpret evidence from symbolic systems around the world in attempts to better understanding cross-cultural paradoxes and reversals related to belief, inquiry, aesthetic experience and the meaning of life. He is an award winning teacher and researcher with four federal grants (SSHRC and Mitacs), two Dean's Awards (for teaching and research), the Mouton d’Or Award for best article in Semiotica (2017), and the TMU Early Research Career Excellence Award (2018).

Dr. Pelkey's first two published monographs (Dialectology as Dialectic, De Gruyter 2011; A Phula Comparative Lexicon, SIL-LCDD 2011) define the Phula ethnolinguistic groups of China and Vietnam, identifying 18 new languages through mixed-methods fieldwork and analysis. His latest publications are focused on language evolution and embodied cognition, including his third authored book,The Semiotics of X (Bloomsbury, 2017). He has published 15 edited or co-edited collections in semiotics, anthropology, and linguistics, including Sociohistorical Linguistics in Southeast Asia (Brill, 2017), Tropological Thought and Action (Berghahn, 2022), and the four-volume major reference work Bloomsbury Semiotics (Bloomsbury, 2023). Among other projects, he is currently collaborating on the 3rd Edition of the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (Oxford: Elsevier) as Section Editor for Meaning.