Ashley O'Mara

I am a PhD student in the English program at Syracuse University and a University Fellow. I study the queer politics and aesthetics of Catholicism during and after the English Reformation. My research gives special attention to how Catholicism’s institutional celibacy shaped anti-Catholic discourses at the same time that it afforded a space for non-normative sexual and asexual desires. My studies are informed by medieval and Renaissance mysticism and recent developments in feminism, asexuality, and queer studies.

The image that appears at the top of every page on my website comes from a Portuguese altarpiece which depicts Teresa of Avila’s famously (and queerly) sexualized “transverberation,” or ecstasy; it was painted by Josefa de Óbidos, one of very few women Baroque artists. As my work draws upon theories and theologies of the feminine material body, I am also interested in representations of the body in iconography and image-making during the Medieval and Renaissance periods.

This fall, I will be an English Textual Studies teaching associate, teaching my own section of ETS 113: Survey of British Literature, beginnings to 1789. In the past, I have taught freshman– and sophomore-level composition courses on contemporary rhetorics of normalcy and identity and on gender and the politics of world religions. I have worked as an English Textual Studies teaching assistant for ETS 121: Introduction to Shakespeare; ETS 119: Postwar American Fiction; ETS 114: Survey of British Literature, 1798-present; and ETS 146: Reading Screen Cultures.

I am a curator and contributor to the Six Degrees of Francis Bacon project, specializing in the English Jesuit mission. I have blogged for Metathesis on queer history and historiography and on the digital humanities, and I am a regular panel participant in post-performance discussions of theatrical productions put on by The Red House Arts Center. I have held a great number of service positions in the English Graduate Organization, the university-wide Graduate Student Organization, and the Department of English. I was a University Fellow in 2014-2014 and will resume my position in 2018-2019.

In those moments when I’m not researching or teaching, I enjoy writing creative nonfiction, listening to the Lebanese band Mashrou3 Leila, and snuggling my bunny Toffee Touchstone. I do not enjoy waiting for the next season of the BBC’s Sherlock.

ORCID: 0000-0003-0540-5376

photo of a pied brown, ginger, and white lop rabbit sleeping with his head on an open Norton Anthology

Toffee Touchstone

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