Kelsey Paige Mason
PhD in English Candidate
515 Denney Hall
Areas of Expertise
- Nineteenth-century British literature
- Nineteenth-century American literature
- Utopian and dystopian studies
- MA, English, Auburn University, 2016
- BA, English, University of Tennessee – Martin, 2013
- BA, Philosophy, University of Tennessee – Martin, 2013
- BS Ed, Secondary English Education, University of Tennessee – Martin, 2013
Paige Mason is a PhD student interested in nineteenth-century transatlantic literature, where she examines utopianism in its three forms: utopian practice, utopian social theory and literary utopias. She analyzes primary texts from ideological and repressive spaces (such as prisons, plantations, churches, educational facilities, etc.) as well as from utopian communities in the nineteenth-century and draws correlations between these primary texts and utopian/dystopian fiction. She is interested in the ways in which published and unpublished narratives portray the utopian impulse towards the future. Her main focus is investigating how we have historically imagined the future, including an analysis of which populations are excluded from future speculation; in this analysis, she asks not only about historical speculations of the future, but how our present is shaped by the ideological impulse towards futurity, and what possibilities the future might hold. For example, her work in disability studies and futurity has shown that speculative futures commonly adopt a medical model of disability, one which argues that an ideal future is one where disabilities have been cured. Utopia’s ties to futurity are often privileged and exclusionary, but she wants to complicate the ways in which speculation and utopianism can be reclaimed for aggressive activist intervention paired with social dreaming.
- "A Lifetime Sowing the Blues: The Diary of Lucius Clark Smith, 1834-1915." Diary as Literature: Through the Lens of Multiculturalism in America, edited by Angela Hooks, Vernon Press, 2019, pp. 41-57.
- “Writing Revolution: Orwell’s Not-So-Plain Style in Animal Farm.” Critical Insights: Animal Farm, edited by Thomas Horan, Salem Press, 2018, pp. 75-90.