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
Office:1903 Dunton Tower.

Research Interests

Canadian literatures

print-culture studies and the history of reading

sociology of literature

Current Research

My research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century literatures and cultures in Canada. I am particularly interested in the production and use of literary and other cultural forms, as well as the social, economic, and political forces, including liberalism, settler colonialism, industrial and post-industrial capitalism, that press upon them.

My most recent book, Home Feelings: Liberal Citizenship and the Canadian Reading Camp Movement, argues that literature, literacy, and citizenship took on new and contested meanings in early twentieth-century Canada, as British-Canadian settlers’ desire to define themselves in relation to an expanding non-British immigrant population, as well as a need for immigrant labour, put new pressure on the concept of citizenship, particularly in the frontier work camps where the organization that eventually became Frontier College undertook its work. Employing an interdisciplinary approach, Home Feelings investigates how the reading camp movement used fiction, poetry, songs, newspapers, magazines, school readers, and English-as-a-second-language and citizenship manuals to encourage ideas of selfhood that were individual and intimate rather than collective. Through the Frontier College, one of the nation’s earliest citizenship education programs emerged, drawing on literature’s potential to nourish “home feelings” as a means of engaging socialist and communist print cultures and the non-British immigrant communities with which these were associated.

My current research continues my interest in the institutions that mediate literature and culture in Canada. With Jennifer Blair, I co-organized the conference Institutional Work: Mediating CanLit in May 2019. I have also begun work on a new project that explores the uses of the book in Canadian cultural diplomacy efforts from 1950 to the present.

I am cross-appointed to the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies. I welcome inquiries about potential supervision from students working in the field of Canadian literary and cultural studies, and especially from those interested in the sociologically oriented study of culture in Canada and / or the history of literacy / reading.

Recent Honours and Awards

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


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.

Recent Articles / Chapters in Books

“Cultural Postwar Book Diplomacy and Settler Contradiction.” Canadian Literature,

forthcoming 2020.

“‘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.

“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.

“Antimodernist Paradox in Canada: The Graphic Publishers (1925–1932) and the Case of Madge Macbeth.” Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 45, No. 2, 2011, pp. 96-122.

Recent Presentations

“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.

“‘Strong, Clean, God-Conquered’ Manhood: The Social Gospel Mission of Canada’s Reading Camp Association (1899-1905).” Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing. University of Antwerp (Belgium). 18 September 2014.



Dessa Bayrock, ““(Re-)reading Literary Prizes in Canada: Multinational Publishing, the Meritocracy of Commodification, and Spaces of Literary Resistance,” 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.