History and Art History
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Sharon M. Leon

Sharon M. Leon

Sharon M. Leon

Associate Professor

U.S. History: American religious history, history of science, 20th Century social and cultural history, digital public history

Sharon Leon is the Director of Public Projects at the Center for History and New Media and Associate Professor in the History and Art History Department. Leon received her bachelors of arts degree in American Studies from Georgetown University in 1994, and her doctorate in American Studies from the University of Minnesota in 2004. Her book, An Image of God: Catholics and American Eugenics was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2013. She is currently doing research on Catholicism in the United States after Vatican II, and working on a project on digital public history.

At the Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Leon oversees collaborations with library, museum, and archive partners from around the country, such as the Smithsonian Institution, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She manages the Center's digital exhibit and archiving projects, as well as a research and tool development for public history, including Omeka and Scripto.  Leon also writes and presents on using technology to improve the teaching and learning of historical thinking skills.

Current Research

After the Council: US Catholicism in the wake of Vatican II, manuscript in progress.

Selected Publications

An Image of God: Catholics and American Eugenics (University of Chicago Press, 2013).

"Tensions Not Unlike that Produced by a Mixed Marriage: Daniel Marshall and Catholic Challenges to Interracial Anti-Miscegenation Statutes," U.S. Catholic Historian (December 2008): 27-44.

"'A Human Being, and Not a Mere Social Factor': Catholic Strategies for Dealing with Sterilization Statutes in the 1920s," Church History 73:2 (June 2004) 383-411.

"'Hopelessly Entangled in Nordic Pre-suppositions': Catholic Participation in the American Eugenics Society in the 1920s," Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 59:1 (Jan. 2004): 3-49. Recipient of the 2005 Stanley Jackson Prize for the best article in the JHMAS from 2002-2005.

Courses Taught

HIST 615: American Religious History, 1865-Present

HIST 696: Clio I: Theories and Methods of Digital History

HIST 698: Advanced Topics in Digital History: Digital Public History

HIST 390: The Digital Past

Recent Presentations

"Doing History in Public: Digital History in the Digital Humanities," Digital Dialogues, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, University of Maryland, April 13, 2010.

"Historical Scholarship and Pedagogy in the Commons Era," International Conference of Digital Archives and Digital Humanities (Research Center for Digital Humanities, National Taiwan University), Taipei, Taiwan, December 1, 2009.

"Historical Scholarship in the Commons Era," Frontiers of New Media Symposium, University of Utah, September 18, 2009.

"The Future of Teaching the Past," Paul Gagnon Keynote Address, National Council for History Education Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, March 13, 2009.