Jay Lemke is Professor Emeritus of the City University of New York. He was formerly Senior Research Scientist and adjunct Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego and in the Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition. Prior to that he was Professor at the University of Michigan, working in the Ph.D. programs in Science Education, Learning Technologies, and Literacy Language and Culture. At the City University of New York he was Professor and founding Executive Officer of the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education and at Brooklyn College. His research interests span all these fields and work in social theory and social semiotics, discourse analysis, video analysis, multimedia studies, games research, and most recently the role of feeling in making meaning.
Jay was born in Chicago and studied at the University of Chicago (Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics). He subsequently moved to New York where taught initially in both physics and science education, later specializing in the role of language in the communication of science. He is the author of Talking Science: Language, Learning, and Values (1990), a widely cited work, also translated into Spanish. Jay worked with Michael Halliday, the eminent British linguist, and others in developing social semiotics, an approach to language and other resources for making meaning that helped establish key methods in the field of Discourse Analysis, later extended to visual and multimedia analysis. He applied these methods to understanding ideologies and social dynamics, publishing Textual Politics: Discourse and Social Dynamics (1995).
Jay’s work on education is grounded in more than 25 years of classroom observation and work with teachers in urban communities in New York City, and in teacher preparation programs at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (CUNY), where he is now also Professor Emeritus. Jay was active for many years in the International Systemic Linguistics Association and its annual congresses on functional linguistics, and he has served as co-editor of the journals Linguistics and Education and Critical Discourse Studies, as well as serving on the editorial boards of seven other academic journals.
Jay has been a visiting professor at the University of London (Institute of Education), the University of Sydney (Department of Linguistics), Utrecht University (Langeveld Institute) and other institutions and a frequent visitor and lecturer at the Universities of Barcelona and Oslo. He is the author of over 100 scholarly publications, including three books.