University of Calgary

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 current book project, under contract with the University Press of Mississippi, considers how queer young adult literature functions as a cultural repository for anxious adult affect. Otherwise, my recent publications include essays on queer visibility in the first North American young adult novel with gay content (Children's Literature Association Quarterly 41.3), 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, with Ela Przybylo, 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 about summer camp as queer time and place (Queer as Camp, forthcoming from Fordham University Press). For more, see my 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. I have supervised English Honours projects on the pedagogy of Harry Potter time travel fan fiction (M. Anderson), the function of fantasy and fairy tale tropes in Japanese role playing games (B. Johnson), feminist readings of Disney's 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast (J. Freeman), and ecocritical readings of the "Sleeping Beauty" tale (L. Van Dyk).

At the undergraduate level, I often teach ENGL 396 (Literature for Young People), a class in which my students and I question the boundaries of how we typically imagine children's and young adult literature. I have also designed and taught special topics undergraduate classes on Dystopian Young Adult Literature and LGBT Children's Literature. At the graduate level, I have taught "Narrating the Queerness of Youth," a class on queer theory and young adult fiction, and "The Virtual Child," a seminar on digital texts for young people. 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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