University of Houston - Clear Lake
School of Human Sciences and Humanities

— Faculty Profile

Maria F. Curtis
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Studies

Maria Curtis

Office: Bayou 2617
Phone: 281-283-3429

Mailing Address:
University of Houston-Clear Lake
2700 Bay Area Blvd.
Campus Box 82
Houston, TX 77058

Maria Curtis has taught undergraduate Anthropology and MA Cross Cultural Studies at the University of Houston-Clear Lake since 2007. She has conducted research in several cities in Morocco, Turkey, and among American Muslims in the U.S., and has written about the ways in which American Muslim immigrant women counter Islamophobia through acts of generosity, renewed piety, and religious beliefs that come to life through ritual, clothing, music, new media, and public events. Her current work focuses on diversity within the greater American Muslim community, and the ways that they challenge post 9/11 stereotypes and create multi faith spaces of public dialogue.

  • PhD Anthropology and Cultural Studies, The University of Texas at Austin. Dissertation title: “Sound Faith: Nostalgia, Global Spirituality, and the Making of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music”.
  • Doctoral Portfolio in Cultural Studies (Supplemental coursework in the Humanities, Media, and Performance Studies), The University of Texas at Austin.
  • MA Anthropology. MA: “ ‘Ayoua and Women’s Venerative Traditions in Northern Morocco”. The University of Texas at Austin.
  • BA Modern Romance Languages, Contemporary French Literature and French to English Translation. Advanced, and Research Honors in Cultural Anthropology. Cum Laude. Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA.

Additional Study

  • Languages: French, Moroccan Arabic, Classical Arabic, Turkish
  • Tested by ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Oral Proficiency Interview in Modern Standard Arabic with an Intermediate Mid. Rating.
  • American Language Institute of Fes, Private instruction in Classical, and Moroccan Dialectical Arabic. Fes, Morocco
  • Bogaziçi University Turkish summer program, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Independent language and field research in Morocco. Fulbright Moroccan American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange.
  • Georgetown University and the American Institute for Maghreb Studies Arabic Program, Tangier, Morocco.
  • American Language Institute of Fes 120 hour program in Moroccan dialect. Fes, Morocco.
  • University of Grenoble, C.U.E.F. French Language Program. Grenoble, France. Certificat Pratique de la Langue Française, Premier Degré.

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Research Interests
  • Diasporic Muslim communities and expressions of Islamic cosmopolitanism
  • Discrimination, alterity, affect, intersectionality, situated identities
  • Cultural diversity, ethnoscapes, discourses of multiculturalism
  • Women and gender in Islam, interfaith dialogue and civic engagement, social movements in the Muslim world
  • Public and material culture

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Teaching Areas
  • Islam in Africa
  • Turkey and Central Asia
  • Theories of Cultural Diversity
  • Women and Gender in the Middle East
  • Media, Gender and Diplomacy in the Arab World
  • Model Arab League Faculty Sponsor

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Selected Publications
  • On Fasting in Fes: Learning about Food, Family, and Friendship during Fieldwork in Morocco. In Studying Islam in Practice. Gabriele Marranci, ed. Routledge.
  • “I Have a Voice”: Despatialization, Multiple Alterities, and the Digital Performance of Jabala Women of Northern Morocco. In Muslim Women’s Digital Geographies. Anna Piela, ed. Berg.
  • "Flights of Fancy: On Settling in a Feminine 'Home' in Morocco." Al-Raida (The Pioneer) Quarterly Journal of the Institute of Women’s Studies in the Arab World, Vol. 101. Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon.
  • Anatolian ‘Sister Mothers’: Turkish American Muslim Mothers’ and Grandmothers’ Networks in Diaspora. In Muslim Mothering: Local and Global Histories, Theories, and Practices. Dana Olwan, ed. Demeter Press.
  • Closet Tales from a Turkish Cultural Center in the Petro Metro: Muslim Fashion and Clothing Biographies of Women in Houston, Texas. In Muslim Fashion and Anti-Fashion: New Perspectives from Europe and America. Annelies Moors and Emma Tarlo, eds. Pp. 182-198. Bloomsbury.
  • 2013 Fiqh, The Science of Islamic Jurisprudence. In The Bloomsbury Companion to Islamic Studies. Clinton Bennett, ed. Pp. 207-226. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

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  • American Anthropological Association
  • American Academy of Religion
  • American Association of University Women
  • Association for Middle East Women’s Studies

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Course Links