Welcome to Maria Theory, the personal website and blog for Maria Carson!
Hi! My name is Maria Carson. Nice to meet you.
I am currently ABD (All But Dissertation, affectionately called “All But Done” in some circles) in the Religion Department of Syracuse University. My dissertation uses affect theory to analyze the life, work, and memory of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Through this process, I argue that affects surrounding his work speak to larger cultural trends of American Jewry of the 1950s-1960s.
From 2011-2012 I attended the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, studying Jewish Thought. My MA Thesis, Sacred Shifts, was about halakhic (Jewish legal) jurisprudence in the decision of the Conservative Movement to ordain women and gays and lesbians.
I attended The Theatre School at DePaul University from 2005-2009, obtaining a BFA in Theatre Management and a BA in Religious Studies. My theatre education was in a conservatory setting, based primarily on the theater/performance theory and arts management. (This means I might be the only graduate student in Jewish Studies in the country who once had a midterm for an Acting For Non-Majors Class wherein I had to act like an animal for the entire class session. I might be. I can’t promise it.)
I live in Lewisburg, PA. In my spare time I write fiction, cross-stitch, and listen to European pop music.
Research Interests and Teaching Experience.
My research interests include:
- American Jewish Philosophy/Thought/Theology
- Affect Theory
- Gender Theory and Gender Studies
- Performance Studies
- Modern and Contemporary Jewish Thought and Theology
- Zionism, Post-Zionism, and Anti-Zionism
I have taught the following university courses:
- Gender and Jewishness in America
- Religion and Pop Culture
- Intro to Judaism
Syllabi available upon request.
I have taught the following topics to young Jews (between the ages of 12-18) in a community religious school setting. See Teaching Young Jews for more information.
- Contemporary anti-Semitism
- The Holocaust, including resistance to the Holocaust and Righteous Gentiles
- Historical Zionism, both Political Zionism and Cultural Zionism
- Contemporary Israeli culture and diversity within Israel
- Jewish Ethics/Mussar
- Prayerbook Hebrew
- Modern Hebrew I (basic conversational, not college level)
- Yiddish Literature (in translation)
- Jewish texts (Talmud, Mishnah, Midrash in translation)
- Contemporary American Jewish Movements
- Jewish Feminism(s)
I blog about several constellations of ideas, focusing primarily on how affect theory intersects with these constellations: Jewish studies, leftist politics, “geeky” and fandom communities, and academia. The blog can be found here.