Photo of Jody Mason

Jody Mason


Degrees:B.A. Honours, M.A. (University of Western Ontario), Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
Office:1903 Dunton Tower

Research Interests

  • literatures and cultures in Canada
  • twentieth- and twenty-first-century anglophone literatures
  • sociology of literature; print culture studies (reading and reception; publishing; uses of books and book cultures)
  • settler-colonial studies and decolonization

For the past decade or so, my research has focused on how the book and associated ideas about literacy and self-improvement have helped to elaborate settler colonial logic in Canada. I’m also interested in how the ideologies of the book and literacy dominant in Europe and North America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been contested, challenged, and revised, both from within settler cultures and by Indigenous Peoples.

My most recent book, Home Feelings: Liberal Citizenship and the Canadian Reading Camp Movement, argues that literacy and literature played key roles in the emergence of settler-defined, liberal citizenship in Canada. Through the Frontier College, one of the nation’s earliest literacy and 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 analyzes Canadian uses of books as foreign aid in the second half of the twentieth century. Examining the broader ways in which books and literacy assumed a central role in the international development paradigm of the later twentieth century, I argue that books were particularly effective instruments for concealing the contradictory relation of the nation’s externally oriented liberal humanitarianism to its settler-colonial realities. The project considers the entanglement of international foreign aid and domestic “Indian” policy in the closing decades of the twentieth century, but also the ways that Indigenous activists, often drawing on Third World anti-colonial thought and writing, interrogated or simply rejected developmentalism’s division of the world into literate and non-literate peoples.

I’m cross-appointed to the School of 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


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 (Since 2014)

“The Margaret Wrong Memorial Fund, Late Colonial Development, and the Prizing of African Literatures, 1950-1962.” Forthcoming in Research In African Literatures.

(with Sarah Pelletier.) “‘Singular Plurality’: Settler Colonial Transcendence and Canada’s 2021 Guest-of-Honour Campaign at the Frankfurt Book Fair.” Book History, vol. 26, no. 2, fall 2023, pp. 467-96.

“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.

Recent Professional Concerns Publications and Journalism

“Decolonizing Pedagogies: Pipelines and Publishers.” Canadian Literature, vol. 253, 2023, pp. 137-44.

 The ‘Creative Crusade’: Settler Colonial Antinomies and Books for Development in the Age of Three Worlds.Canadian Network on Humanitarian History, Jan. 21,


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

“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.

Recent Presentations (Since 2020)

“Developing Africa and Late Twentieth-Century Anglophone Settler Nationalisms.” Canadian Historical Association, York University. 29-31 May 2023.

(with Sarah Pelletier) “‘Singular Plurality’: Settler Colonial Transcendence and Canada’s 2021 Guest-of-Honour Campaign at the Frankfurt Book Fair.” Society for the History of Reading, Authorship, and Publishing, Amsterdam / Online. 11-15 July 2022.

“‘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.

Ph.D. Supervisions

Sarah Dorward, “Erased by Posterity: Popular Literature, Nineteenth-Century Canadian Authorship, and the Transatlantic Print Network,” ongoing.

Sarah Pelletier, “‘Neither boy nor man’: Transnational Dimensions of Gender, Race, and Labour in the Nineteenth-Century North American Typographical Trade and Press,” ongoing.

Dessa Bayrock, “Prizing Dominance: Disruption, Capital, and the Power and Practices of Literary Prize Culture in Canada,” 2023.

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.