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; sociology of literature

Current Research

My research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century literatures and cultures in Canada. I am particularly interested in how the production and use of cultural forms are mediated by the social, economic, and political forces of liberalism, settler colonialism, immigration and citizenship, class conflict, gender identity, and urbanization and industrialization.

My first book, Writing Unemployment: Worklessness, Mobility, and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century Canadian Literatures, covers the period from 1920-1975 and draws on cultural and literary studies, print culture studies, labour history, and citizenship studies in order to examine how a cultural normalization of worklessness accompanied the advent of the welfare state and the national citizen in twentieth-century Canada.

My current research project will be the first sustained study of Frontier College, Canada’s longest running movement to teach adult workers to read and one of the first Canadian organizations to undertake the project of citizenship education. Using the Frontier College archive at Library and Archives Canada, I am studying how the association’s organizers, teachers, and learners selected, created, used, and understood the print materials that were so key to their work––fiction, poetry, songs, newspapers, magazines, school readers, and English-as-a-second language and citizenship manuals. These practices altered dramatically across the first part of the twentieth century: while the first frontier resource camps where Frontier College undertook its early work were populated mostly by Canadian- and British-born men, this situation had changed dramatically by the teens. The sharp rise in the number of non-British immigrant learners in the camps, coupled with employer- and state-generated fear about the relation of immigrant workers to radical politics, provided Frontier College with a new raison d’être after 1905––Canadianization. Analyzing the shifting ways in which Frontier College deployed pedagogical techniques that harnessed culture to the work of producing citizens and non-citizens across this period, this project aims to track the uneven emergence of Canada’s liberal citizenship regime in the period prior to the Second World War.

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 twentieth- and twenty-first-century Canada or in the relation of citizenship studies to literary and cultural studies.

Recent Honours and Awards

2017 FASS Research Achievement Award

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

2013 FASS Junior Faculty Research Award


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

Recent Articles / Chapters in Books

“‘Capital Intraconversion’ and Canadian Literary Prize Culture.” Book History 20 (2017):  424–46.

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

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

“A Family of Migrant Workers: Region and the Rise of Neoliberalism in the Fiction of Alistair MacLeod.” Studies in Canadian Literature 38.1 (2013): 151-69.

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

“Antimodernist Paradox in Canada: The Graphic Publishers (1925–1932) and the Case of Madge Macbeth.” Journal of Canadian Studies 45.2 (Spring 2011): 96-122.

“‘Sidown, Brother, Sidown!’”: The Problem of Commitment and the Publishing History of Irene Baird’s Waste Heritage.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 45.2 (2007): 143-61.

Recent Presentations

“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.

“‘Rebel Woman’ and ‘Little Woman’: Conflicting Political Imperatives in The Woman Worker, 1926-1929.” Thinking About Cultural Ephemera. McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (Montreal). 15 April 2013.

“Literary Labour and the Politics of Reconstruction in Depression-Era Canada.” Canadian Association for the Study of Book Culture /Association canadienne pour l’étude de l’histoire du livre. Concordia University (Montreal). 1 June 2010.



Bridgette Brown, “A Remarkably Literary War”: Imperial Imaginings, Canadian Writing and the South African War,” ongoing.

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


(with Prof. Jennifer Henderson) Laura Dunbar, “‘Our Cherished Purpose’: Liberal Nationalism and the Literary in the Canadian Methodist Magazine,” 2010.