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James Paul Gee

James Paul Gee received his Ph.D in linguistics from Stanford University in 1975.  He started his career in theoretical linguistics, working in syntactic and semantic theory, and taught initially in the School of Language and Communication at Hampshire College in Amherst Massachusetts.  He went on to do research in psycholinguistics at Northeastern University in Boston and at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Holland. As his research focus began to switch to studies on discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and applications of linguistics to literacy and education, he took a position in the School of Education at Boston University, where he was the chair of the Department of Developmental Studies and Counseling. From Boston University, he went on to serve as a professor of linguistics in the Linguistics Department at the University of Southern California and, later, served as the first Jacob Hiatt Professor of Education in the Hiatt Center for Urban Education at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.  In 1998, he became the Tashia Morgridge Professor of Reading in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 2007 he became the Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies at the Arizona State University. He is a member of the National Academy of Education. 


His book Sociolinguistics and Literacies (1990) was one of the founding documents in the formation of the “New Literacies Studies”, an interdisciplinary field devoted to studying language, learning, and literacy in an integrated way in the full range of their cognitive, social, and cultural contexts.  His book An Introduction to Discourse Analysis (1999) brings together his work on a methodology for studying communication in its cultural settings, an approach that has been widely influential over the last two decades.  His most recent books both deal with video games, language, and learning.  What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (2003) offers 36 reasons why good video games produce better learning conditions than many of today’s schools.  Situated Language and Learning (2004) places video games within an overall theory of learning and literacy and shows how they can help us in thinking about the reform of schools.  His new book, Good Games and Good Learning: Collected Essays (2007) situates game-like learning in the framework of current research in the Learning Sciences.


Prof. Gee has published widely in journals in linguistics, psychology, the social sciences, and education.  In 1989, the Journal of Education, one of the longest running journals in education in the United States, published a special issue devoted to reprinting his early essays on literacy.  His books include Sociolinguistics and Literacies (1990, Second Edition 1996; Third Edition 2007); The Social Mind (1992); Introduction to Human Language (1993); The New Work Order: Behind the Language of the New Capitalism (1996, with Glynda Hull and Colin Lankshear); An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method (1999; Second Edition 2003); What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (2003); Situated Language and Learning: A Critique of Traditional Schooling (2004), and Why Video Games Are Good for Your Soul (2005); and Good Learning and Good Video Games (2007)


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The Anti-Education Era
Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning

Palgrave Macmillan
One of the first champions of the positive effects of gaming reveals the dark side of today’s digital and social media   Today’s schools are eager to use...
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Women and Gaming
The Sims and 21st Century Learning

Palgrave Macmillan
Today, virtual worlds abound, avatars are every day occurrences, and video games are yesterday’s news. But today’s games are not just a pastime for millions –...
James Paul Gee

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