About

Sharon M. Leon is an Associate Professor of History at Michigan State University, where she is developing projects on digital public history and digital networking projects related to enslaved communities in Maryland. 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, 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. Leon continues to serve as the Director of the Omeka web publishing platform.

Education

University of Minnesota, Ph.D., American Studies Department, August 2004.
Georgetown University, A.B., Program in American Studies, May 1997, Magna Cum Laude. Minor in Theology.

Other Publications

BOOKS AND MAJOR PROJECTS
 
User-Centered Digital History: Doing Public History on the Web (in progress). Synopsis: <http://www.6floors.org/bracket/2015/03/03/user-centered-digital-history-doing-public-history-on-the-web/>.
 
As Justice and Charity Demands: An Examination of the Enslaved persons Owned (and Sold) by the Maryland Province Jesuits, 1717-1838 (in progress), <jesuitplantationproject.org>. Supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities-Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship for Digital Publications (September 2017-May 2018).
 
An Image of God: the Catholic Struggle with Eugenics (University of Chicago Press, May 2013).
 
ARTICLES
 
“Tensions Not Unlike that Produced by a Mixed Marriage: Daniel Marshall and Catholic Challenges to Interracial Anti-Miscegenation Statutes,” U.S. Catholic Historian 26:1 (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.
 
BOOK CHAPTERS
 
“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). <http://latinamericanhistory.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.001.0001/acrefore-9780199366439-e-83>.
 
“Build, Iterate, and Generalize: Community Transcription of the Papers of the War Department and the Development of Scripto,” in Crowdsourcing our Cultural Heritage, edited by Mia Ridge (Ashgate, 2014).
 
“Oral History in the Digital Age,” in The Oxford Handbook of Oral History, edited by Donald A. Ritchie (Oxford University Press, 2010). Co-authored with Sheila Brennan, et al.
 
ESSAYS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS
 
“Access for All,” a response to Andrew Hurley’s “Chasing the Frontiers of Digital Technology in The Public Historian 38:1 (February 2016). History@Work (March 2, 2016). <http://ncph.org/history-at-work/access-for-all/>.
 
Sheila A. Brennan and Sharon M Leon, Scholars as Students: Introductory Digital History Training for Mid-Career Historians, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, 2015. <http://hdl.handle.net/1920/9825>.
 
“Knights of Columbus,” in Dictionary of American History, Supplement: America in the World, 1776 to the Present, edited by Edward J. Blum (Charles Scribner’s Sons, January 2016).
 
“Imaging the Digital Future of The Public Historian,” The Public Historian 35:1 (February 2013) 8-27. Co-authored with William Bryans, et al.
 
“Take an Elective,” in Hacking the Academy: New Approaches to Scholarship and Teaching from Digital Humanities, edited by Daniel J. Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt (University of Michigan Press, 2013).
 
“Project Management for Humanists: Preparing Future Primary Investigators.” #Alt-Academy: Alternative Academic Careers for Humanities Scholars (May 2011): <http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/alt-ac/pieces/project-management-humanists>.
 
“Slowing Down, Talking Back, and Moving Forward: Some Reflections on Digital Storytelling in the Humanities,” Arts & Humanities in Higher Education 7:2 (2008) 220-223.
 
Daisy Martin, Sam Wineburg, Roy Rosenzweig, and Sharon Leon, “Historicalthinkingmatters.org: Using the Web to Teach Historical Thinking,” Social Education 72:3 (April 2008) 140-144.
 
“Historical Thinking Matters,” Gifted Education Communicator, 37:3 (Fall 2006): 20-25.
 
“Interviews with Exemplary History Teachers: Nancy A. Hewitt,” The History Teacher 38:4 (May 2005): 1-14.
 
“Before Casti connubii: Early Catholic Responses to the Eugenics Movement in the United States,” Working Papers Series, The Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism 32:1 (Spring 2000).
 

Projects

DIGITAL PROJECTS
 
MSU Project Team Coordinator (Co-PI), The Classroom and the Historical Record: Humanities Education in a Changing Climate for Knowledge Production, funded by Humanities Without Walls (2018-2020).
 
Director (PI, 2011-present), Co-Director (2007-2011), Omeka, <http://omeka.org>; <http://omeka.net>; <http://omeka.org/s/>;<http://github.com/omeka/>. Omeka is a free and open-source software that provides museums, historical societies, libraries and individuals with an easy to use platform for publishing collections and creating attractive, standards-based, interoperable online exhibits. Omeka is designed to satisfy the needs of cultural institutions that lack technical staffs and large budgets. Bringing Web 2.0 technologies and approaches to small museum, historical society, and library websites, Omeka fosters the kind of user interaction and participation that is central the mission of those cultural institutions. Omeka is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (5 National Leadership grants), the Library of Congress (1 grant), and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2 grants). The software was the recipient of a 2008 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award for Technology Collaboration. In 2010, Omeka expanded to include a hosted service, Omeka.net. Finally, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Omeka S, a multisite version of Omeka designed to meet the needs of large libraries and institutions with major collections and many users, launched in Spring 2015.
Recent funded initiatives include:
Principle Investigator, “Omeka S, Enhanced Description and Dissemination,” Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant for Libraries. Total Awarded: $249,336. (October 1, 2015-September 30, 2018).
Principle Investigator, “Omeka Everywhere: Connecting online and in-person museum experiences with Omeka and Open Exhibits,” Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant for Museums. Total Awarded: $390,999. (October 1, 2014-September 30, 2017).
Principle Investigator, “Opening Omeka Collections to Distant and Close Reading,” Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant for Libraries. Total Awarded: $247,926. (October 1, 2014-September 30, 2017).
 
Co-Director (PI), Doing Digital History 2016: A NEH Summer Institute for Mid-Career Americanists, <http://history2016.doingdh.org/ >. Doing Digital History is an Institute for the Advanced Topics in Digital Humanities summer institute aimed at faculty, public historians, archivists, librarians, museum professionals, and independent scholars specializing in US history, who have had very limited or no training in using digital methods and tools, or in computing, and who lack a supportive digital community at their home institutions. The institute took place July 11-22, 2016.
 
Co-Director, Building the Portfolio: DH for Art History Graduate Students, <http://arthistory2015.doingdh.org>. Building the Portfolio is a summer institute funded by the Getty Foundation designed for 20 art history graduate students who are eager to explore the digital turn in the humanities. Total Awarded: $165,804. (January 2015-December 2015). The institute took place July 13-24, 2015.
 
Co-Director (PI), Doing Digital History: A NEH Summer Institute for Mid-Career Americanist, <http://history2014.doingdh.org>. Doing Digital History was an Institute for the Advanced Topics in Digital Humanities summer institute aimed at faculty, public historians, archivists, librarians, museum professionals, and independent scholars specializing in US history, who have had very limited or no training in using digital methods and tools, or in computing, and who lack a supportive digital community at their home institutions. The institute took place August 3-17, 2014.
 
Co-Director, Rebuilding the Portfolio: DH for Art Historians, <http://arthistory2014.doingdh.org>. Rebuilding the Portfolio was a summer institute funded by the Getty Foundation designed for 20 art historians, from different stages of their careers and from varied backgrounds, including faculty, curators, art librarians, and archivists who are eager to explore the digital turn in the humanities. The institute took place July 7-18, 2014.
 
Director (PI), Histories of the National Mall. <http://mallhistory.org>. This mobile optimized website provides visitors with access to a rigorous interpretation of the history and culture of the National Mall as a space where national identity is built, negotiated, celebrated, protested, and remembered. Funding for the site has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Histories of the National Mall is the recipient of the 2015 National Council on Public History’s Outstanding Project Award.
 
Director (PI), Scripto: a Tool for Community Transcription, <http://scripto.org>. Scripto is a light-weight, open source, tool that allows users to contribute transcriptions to online documentary projects. The tool includes a versioning history and full set of editorial controls, so that project staff and manage public contributions. CHNM has produced Scripto extensions for Omeka, WordPress, and Drupal. The design and development of the tool was supported by grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Digital Humanities, and the National Historical Publication and Records Commission.
 
Director (Co-PI), Bracero History Archive, <http://braceroarchive.org>. The Bracero History Archive is an effort to collect, aggregate and make publicly available the documents and oral histories of the bracero guest worker program between the United States and Mexico (1942-1964). The major content partners on the project are the Institute of Oral History at the University of Texas at El Paso, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Brown University. The Bracero History Archive was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and was the recipient of the 2010 National Council on Public History’s Outstanding Public History Project Award.
 
Director (PI), Martha Washington: A Life, <http://marthawashington.us>. This public history project brings together archival research and material culture from the Mt. Vernon Estates and Gardens to present a biographical narrative of the nation’s first First Lady. The site also includes an extensive archive, and a number of teaching modules that focus on key objects and themes from the narrative. Funding for the project was provided by a private donor.
 
Director (PI), Mobile for Museums, <http://chnm.gmu.edu/labs/mobile-for-museums/>. Mobile for Museums, funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, provides an overview of the current state of the art in the use of mobile technology by museums. The website includes a comprehensive collection of existing work on mobile technologies for cultural heritage institutions, provides a set of recommendations for moving forward with mobile work, and a set of implementation prototypes.
 
Director, Object of History: Behind the Scenes with the Curators of the National Museum of American History, <http://objectofhistory.org>. Object of History is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media. The project was conceived of in an effort to find a low cost way for students and teacher of U.S. History to have access to the museum’s collections and the expertise of the curators. As a result the materials on the site are designed to improve students’ content knowledge of standard topics in U.S. History and to improve their ability to understand material culture objects as types of historical evidence. Object of History was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
 
Co-Director, National History Education Clearinghouse, <http://teachinghistory.org> (2007-2010). NHEC is a central place for information on history education. The site includes access to history content on the web, best practices in teaching history, a discussion of relevant policy and research matters, information about work going on in Department of Education Teaching American History grants, and a gateway to professional development opportunities for teachers. NHEC is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
 
Co-Director, Historical Thinking Matters, <http://historicalthinkingmatters.org>. HTM provides high school students with a framework that teaches them to read documents like historians. Using these “habits of mind,” they will be able to interrogate historical sources and use them to form reasoned conclusions about the past. Equally important, they will become critical users of the vast historical archives on the web. Historical Thinking Matters equips students to navigate the uncharted waters of the World Wide Web. Historical Thinking Matters was funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and was the recipient of the American Historical Association’s 2008 James Harvey Robinson Prize for Outstanding Teaching Aid.
 
Associate Director, World History Matters, <http://chnm.gmu.edu/worldhistorymatters/>. WHM is a portal to world history on the web that offers direct access to two projects—World History Sources and Women in World History—that provide resources to help world history teachers and students locate, analyze, and learn from primary sources and further their understanding of the complex nature of world history, especially issues of cultural contact and globalization. World History Matters was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and was the recipient of the American Historical Association’s 2006 James Harvey Robinson Prize for Outstanding Teaching Aid.

Memberships

National Council on Public History

Organization of American Historians

American Historical Association

Sharon Leon

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