Dr. Jaffer Sheyholislami (Adjunct Professor)


Associate Professor (Applied Linguistics & Discourse Studies); Cross-appointed in Linguistics,

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Degrees: PhD (Carleton)


My research, supervision and teaching evolve around two main areas of applied linguistics and discourse studies: critical discourse studies (CDS: media discourse, online discourse, political discourse, and representations of language, identities, genders, nationalism, ethnicity, and minoritized groups) and  sociolinguistics (e.g., language variation, language and identity, gender, and other social variables, language attitudes and ideologies, language policy and planning, language/linguistic rights, language maintenance and vitality, heritage languages, etc.).

After years of radio broadcasting in Iran, I completed my first Canadian degree at Fanshawe College, London, Ontario, in Library and Information Science, in 1993. After completing my B.A. in general linguistics—concurrent with a Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language—I taught English to newcomers in Ottawa for several years. In the meantime, I devoted my MA research to a Systemic Functional Linguistics-informed Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of North American news discourse around international events. I continued to employ CDS/CDA in my PhD research, focusing on identity formation practices of Kurdish new media (specifically satellite TV and the Internet). The results of this and other related research projects have been published in a monograph, Kurdish Identity, Discourse and New Media, Palgrave Macmillan (2011), in addition to peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes published in North America, Europe, and the Middle   East.

While I have continued to conduct research, supervise, and teach in the area of Critical Discourse Studies, in the past several years I have immersed myself in sociolinguistics, especially in relation to Kurdish, an area in which I was interested long before I entered academia. I am especially interested in language policy and planning, language and identity, mother-tongue education, linguistic landscape, and language ideologies. My works in these areas have appeared in over a dozen refereed journals, peer- reviewed edited collections, and major encyclopaedia and handbooks. It is because of these diverse interests that I have been privileged to carry out graduate supervision in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Iraq. In 2012, I was nominated for the Capital Educator’s Award and in 2016, I was awarded the Faculty Graduate Mentoring Award at Carleton.

Research Interests

  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Language policy and planning
  • Language and identity
  • Heritage Languages
  • Kurdish language and linguistics