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Derritt Mason

  • Assistant Professor

Professional Description

Broadly speaking, my primary research and teaching interests sit at the intersection of children's and young adult literature, queer theory, and cultural studies. My Ph.D. dissertation, which I defended at the University of Alberta in 2015, explores the post-Stonewall emergence of queer young adult fiction and its attendant body of criticism. I am currently adapting this project into a book manuscript that considers how children's literature with queer content functions as a cultural repository for a tremendous amount of anxious adult affect. Otherwise, my recent publications include essays on narratives of victimization in queer young adult fiction (Fictionalizing the World, 2016), the It Gets Better anti-bullying YouTube project (ESC: English Studies in Canada 38.3-4), and the history of childhood and perversity (Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures 3.1). I also co-edited a special issue of ESC (40.1) entitled Hysteria Manifest: Cultural Lives of a Great Disorder, and am currently co-editing, with Kenneth B. Kidd, a collection of essays entitled Queer at Camp. For more, see my academia.edu profile.

I welcome undergraduate and graduate students who wish to pursue research in areas including children's and young adult literature, gender and sexuality studies, critical theory, and cultural studies. In my own research and teaching, I enjoy thinking across media and form; I draw on film, comics, video games, fan fiction, and a variety of digital texts in addition to print literature and theory, and I encourage students to do the same. In 2016-2017, I will be supervising Honours English projects on the pedagogy of time travel fan fiction (M. Anderson) and the function of fantasy and fairy tale tropes in Japanese role playing games (B. Johnson).

At the undergraduate level, I often teach ENGL 396 (Children's and Young Adult Literature), a class in which my students and I push at the boundaries of how we typically imagine the genre. We look at fairy tales, film, graphic narrative, fan-produced texts, controversial picture books, and contemporary young adult lit. I have also designed and taught special topics undergraduate classes on Dystopian Young Adult Literature (ENGL 517, fall 2016) and LGBT Children's Literature (ENGL 389, fall 2016). At the graduate level, I taught "Narrating the Queerness of Youth," a class on queer theory and young adult fiction, in fall 2015. As a graduate instructor at the University of Alberta, I received a 2014 Faculty of Arts Award for Excellence in Teaching.

 

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