Sharon Leon

Position: Adjunct Associate Professor

Office: 342 Old Horticulture


Twitter: @sharonmleon


Office Hours: MW 2:00-3:00

Sharon M. Leon is an Associate Professor of History and Digital Humanities at Michigan State University. She is a core faculty member of the Consortium for Critical Diversity in a Digital Age Research (CEDAR).

Dr. Leon received her Bachelor of Arts 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 the University of Chicago Press.

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 areas. First, she is an historian of American religion with a concentration on U.S. Catholicism. Second, she specializes in digital methods with a focus on public history. As a result, Dr. Leon often is pursuing 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 directs the Omeka web-publishing platform project, which provides a number of open-source options for digital scholarly communication and public engagement work: Omeka S, for linked data work and for a hosted solution.

Dr. Leon’s ongoing writing, projects, and teaching materials can be found at

Works 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:<>

Recent Publications:

“Silence and Blindness: Newman’s Digitally Enhanced Imaginary,” The William and Mary Quarterly 76, no. 1 (2019): 19–24,

“Complicating a ‘Great Man’ Narrative of Digital History in the United States,” in Bodies of Information: Intersectional Feminist Digital Humanities, edited by Jacqueline Wernimont and Elizabeth Losh (University of Minnesota Press, 2018).

“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). <>.

Courses taught:

  • History of the Digital Age (H250)
  • Doing Digital History (H251)
  • Seminar in Digital History (489)
  • History in the Digital Age (H812)