Sharon Leon Wins Mellon/NEH Fellowship for Work on Maryland Jesuits and Slavery

Sharon Leon Wins Mellon/NEH Fellowship for Work on Maryland Jesuits and Slavery
A census showing the names of enslaved mothers and children.

Sharon Leon, associate professor in the Department of History and Art History and Director of Public Projects at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media has won a fellowship for a digital publication from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Leon's project is titled "As Justice and Charity Demands: An Examination of the Enslaved Persons Owned (and Sold) by the Maryland Province Jesuits, 1717-1838." 

The fellowship is a new offering from the NEH and the Mellon Foundation, intended to support the publication of humanities scholarship where the mode of inquiry or the subject matter requires a digital publication because print modes would be unsuitable. Leon was one of eight recipients, according to the NEH press release.

Leon's project will examine the people who were owned and sold as slaves by the Maryland Province Jesuits in the period 1717 to 1838, 272 of whom sold by the Jesuits in 1838 to fund the founding of Georgetown University. Leon's work will focus on the lived experience of the enslaved people. The work will take a new form for historical research. Leon writes, "Rather than writing a single linear narrative treatment that could only include a number of individual vignettes standing in for the whole, I will employ linked open data and social network analysis to visualize the entire community of enslaved people and their relationships to one another across space and time."

Leon has post an early version of her research in the form of a talk delivered at Marquette University.