University of Calgary

Derritt Mason

  • Assistant Professor

Office Hours

or by appt.
or by appt.

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 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. In 2016-2017, I supervised Honours English projects on the pedagogy of Harry Potter time travel fan fiction (M. Anderson) and the function of fantasy and fairy tale tropes in Japanese role playing games (B. Johnson). In 2017-2018, I will be supervising Honours projects on feminist readings of Disney's new Beauty and the Beast film (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 push at the boundaries of how we typically imagine children's and young adult literature. 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. In winter 2018, I'll be teaching "The Virtual Child," a graduate 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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