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

Labour and Culture

Current Research

I have a longstanding interest in the relations between labour and culture (explored in my graduate work and 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 invisible or invisibilized labours of authorship, publishing, and textual circulation (including the attentive labour of reading). Most of my research pursues this approach in relation to the literatures and cultures of Canada, a national construct that I understand to be deeply shaped by the companion forces of settler colonialism, liberalism, and industrial capitalism, and deindustrialization.

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. 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––as a means of engaging socialist and communist print cultures and the non-British immigrant communities with which these were associated.

My current project, funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant, explores the meanings attached to literacy and books that have been particularly useful to Canada’s international self-presentation during the past sixty years as liberal, tolerant, peacekeeping, and multicultural. This project asks how Canadian practices of book diplomacy and Canadian uses of books as foreign aid were shaped in this period by the antinomies of settler colonialism and the shifting meanings of the book within late capitalism.

I’m 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 materialist study of culture in Canada.

Recent Honours and Awards

2020-2024 SSHRC Insight Grant

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

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

“Canadian Postwar Book Diplomacy and Settler Contradiction.” Canadian Literature, No. 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.

“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.