Sharon Leon

Office: 342 Old Horticulture


Phone: (517) 355-7500

Fax: (517) 353-5599

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, and served as a Director of the Omeka web publishing platform.

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’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:

“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). <>.

Courses taught:

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