Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Michigan State University
Website URL
digital history, public history, US Catholic history, 20thC US women's history, history of scientific racism, digital cultural heritage
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Sharon M. Leon is an Associate Professor of History at Michigan State University. Dr. Leon received her bachelors of arts degree in American Studies from Georgetown University in 1997 and her doctorate in American Studies from the University of Minnesota in 2004. Her first book, An Image of God: the Catholic Struggle with Eugenics, was published by University of Chicago Press (May 2013).

Prior to joining the History Department at MSU, Dr. Leon spent over thirteen years at George Mason University’s History Department at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media as Director of Public Projects, where she oversaw dozens of award-winning collaborations with library, museum, and archive partners from around the country.

Dr. Leon’s program of research focuses on two area. First, she is an historian of American religion with a concentration on U.S. Catholicism. Second, she is specializes in digital methods with a focus on public history. As a result, Dr. Leon often is pursing many research tracks at once. Currently, with the support of an NEH digital publication fellowship, she is at work on a digital project to surface and analyze the community networks and experiences of the cohort of people enslaved and sold by the Maryland Province Jesuits in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Simultaneously, she is building a major methodological project on doing community engaged digital public history.

Dr. Leon continues in her leadership roles as the Director of Omeka Services for the Omeka web publishing platform. She also serves as the Vice President of the Corporation for Digital Scholarship.

Recent Publications

In progress:

The Jesuit Plantation Project: An Examination of the Enslaved persons Owned (and Sold) by the Maryland Province Jesuits, 1717-1838. Supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities-Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship for Digital Publications (September 2017-May 2018). <>

User-Centered Digital History: Doing Public History on the Web. Synopsis:<>

Recently Published:

“Beyond the Principle Investigator: Countering the ‘Great Man’ History of Digital History,” in Bodies of Information: Intersectional Feminist Digital Humanities, edited by Jacqueline Wernimont and Elizabeth Losh (in process for University of Minnesota Press).

“Complexity and Collaboration: Doing Public History in a Digital Environment,” in The Oxford Handbook of Public History, edited by Paula Hamilton and James B. Gardner (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Digital Resources: The Bracero History Archive,” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
5, 8
Expertise by Topic
Museums, Public History, Race, Science, Religion, Women