Mina Carson teaches courses in United States social and cultural history, in particular the Progressive and New Deal eras, women in the twentieth century, American families, and gay and lesbian movements. Her newest course, the history of psychotherapy, focuses on psychotherapeutic theories and practices in Western Europe and the United States.
Carson's research interests have led her from the post-Civil War era to the turn of the twenty-first century. Her dissertation on the settlement house movement was published as Settlement Folk: Social Thought and the American Settlement Movement, 1885-1930 (University of Chicago Press, 1990). Pondering the evolution of the settlement workers' professional training led to an investigation of the development of professional home economics, "family science," and then the emergence of family therapy in the post-World War II era. In 1992 Carson began training as a professional social worker at Portland State University. After earning her MSW in 1995 she began practicing as a therapist in local agencies. Her particular research interest in this field is the history of psychotherapeutic relationships.
Carson is also a musician, having been one of those "girls with guitars" since junior high school in the 1960s. She collaborated with Dr. Susan Shaw of the OSU Women Studies program and Dr. Tisa Lewis of the Montreat (N.C.) College Social Science faculty on Girls Rock: Fifty Years of Women Making Music (University Press of Kentucky, 2004), a multifaceted venture with film and publication components.They are currently editing a short film, Loud!, on the first Rock and Roll Camp for Girls.