Photo of Jody Mason

Jody Mason

Degrees:B.A. Honours, M.A. (University of Western Ontario), Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 8907
Email:jody_mason@carleton.ca
Office:1903 Dunton Tower.

Research Interests

  • literatures and cultures in Canada
  • sociology of culture; print culture studies (reading and reception; publishing; uses of books and book cultures)
  • settler-colonial studies

I have a longstanding interest in the relations between labour and culture (explored in my first book Writing Unemployment: Worklessness, Mobility, and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century Canadian Literatures). More recently, this has developed in the direction of what Michael Denning calls a “labour theory of culture”––a theorization of culture that is attentive to the often invisibilized labours of authorship, publishing, consecration, and textual circulation (including the attentive labour of reading). My research examines literatures and cultures in the territory known as Canada, settler colonial nationhood, practices of citizenship, literacy, and the uses of print.

My most recent book, Home Feelings: Liberal Citizenship and the Canadian Reading Camp Movement, argues that literature and the values attributed to it are central to the history of settler-defined, liberal citizenship in Canada. Through the Frontier College, one of the nation’s earliest citizenship education programs emerged, drawing on literature’s potential to nourish “home feelings”–– ideas of selfhood that were individual and intimate rather than collective.

My current project asks how Canadian uses of books as foreign aid were shaped in the second half of the twentieth century by the antinomies of settler colonialism and the shifting meanings of culture within late capitalism. It analyzes the liberal internationalism that privileged the book, and the associated skill of literacy, as fundamental instruments of development. This particular development paradigm served Canadian interests well, displacing attention from domestic structures of dispossession, namely internal colonization, while emphasizing the nation’s status as recently “colonized,” an argument that positioned Canada as uniquely equipped to be a “trusted broker” in international affairs.

I’m cross-appointed to the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies. I welcome inquiries about potential supervision from students working in any of the fields I identify under “research interests.”

Recent Honours and Awards

2020 Winner of the Gabrielle Roy Prize (for Home Feelings)

2020-2024 SSHRC Insight Grant

2018-19 SSHRC Explore Development Grant (CORIS)

2017 FASS Research Achievement Award

2013 Shortlisted for the Gabrielle Roy Prize (for Writing Unemployment)

2013 FASS Junior Faculty Research Award

Books

Home Feelings: Liberal Citizenship and the Canadian Reading Camp Movement. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019.

Writing Unemployment: Worklessness, Mobility, and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century Canadian Literatures. University of Toronto Press, 2013.

Articles / Chapters in Books (Since 2012)

“Canadian Postwar Book Diplomacy and Settler Contradiction.” Canadian Literature, 240, 2020, pp. 107-28.

“‘Capital Intraconversion’ and Canadian Literary Prize Culture.” Book History, vol. 20, 2017, pp. 424-46.

“Creating a ‘Home Feeling’: The Canadian Reading Camp Association and the Uses of Fiction, 1900-1905.” Labour / Le Travail, vol. 76, Fall 2015, pp. 109-32.

“‘Rebel Woman,’ ‘Little Woman,’ and the Eclectic Print Culture of Protest in The Woman Worker, 1926-1929.” Canadian Literature, vol. 220, Spring 2014, pp. 17-35.

“A Family of Migrant Workers: Region and the Rise of Neoliberalism in the Fiction of Alistair MacLeod.” Studies in Canadian Literature, vol. 38, no. 1, 2013, pp. 151-69. (Reprinted in Contemporary Literature Criticism, vol. 472, ed. Jennifer Stock, Gale, Cengage, 2021, pp. 253-63.)

“Afro-Caribbean Writing in Canada and the Politics of Migrant Labour Mobility.” Cultural Grammars of Nation: Diaspora and Indigeneity in Canada, edited by Melina Baum Singer, Christine Kim and Sophie McCall, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2012, pp. 153-68.

Recent Professional Concerns Publications and Journalism

“A Fair Exchange? Off to Frankfurt We Go.” Literary Review of Canada, October 2021.

(with Dessa Bayrock). “Ondaatje’s Win of the Golden Man Booker Prize Is Complicated.” The Conversation (Canada Edition), 23 July 2018.

“New CanLit ‘Indie’ Book Imprint is Anything But.” The Conversation (Canada Edition), 10 Sept. 2019.

(with Dessa Bayrock). “Ondaatje’s Win of the Golden Man Booker Prize Is Complicated.” The Conversation (Canada Edition), 23 July 2018.

“Make Them Up and Ignore Them”? Learning Outcomes and Literary Studies in

Canada.” Canadian Literature, vol. 225, Summer 2015, pp. 161–64.

Recent Presentations (Since 2015)

 “‘The Creative Crusade: Settler Colonial Antinomies and Books for Development in the Age of Three Worlds.” Canadian Literature Centre, University of Alberta, Invited Lecture. 5 November 2021.

“Radical Literacy, Literature as Moral Culture, and Citizenship’s Contest in Canada’s Depression-Era Unemployment Relief Camps.” Bibliographical Society of Canada, University of British Columbia. 4 June 2019.

“Citizenship, Pedagogy, Institutions.” Mikinaakominis / Transcanadas, University of Toronto.  25 May 2017.

“The Giller Complex and Literacy’s Ambivalent Signification.” Society for Textual Studies. Ottawa. 16 April 2016.

“‘Creating a ‘Home Feeling’: The Canadian Reading Camp Association and the Uses of Popular Fiction and Poetry, 1900-1910.” Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures. University of Ottawa. 1 June 2015.

Supervisions

Ph.D.

Dessa Bayrock, “Disruption and Prestige: The Contradiction and Resilience of Canadian Literary Prize Culture” ongoing.

Bridgette Brown, “The South African War (1899-1901) and the Transperipheral Production of Canadian Literatures,” 2019.

Christopher Doody, “A Union of the Inkpot: The Canadian Authors Association, 1921-1960,” 2016.

Sarah Dorward, “Copyright, Globalization, and De-Canadianizing Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century Canadian” Literatures,” ongoing.

Sarah Pelletier, “‘The Girl in Our Alley’: Transnational Dimensions of Gender, Race and Labour in the North American Typographical Trade and Press, 1850-1914,” ongoing.