Monica Mercado

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Monica Mercado

Assistant Professor of History

Department/Office Information


Monica L. Mercado is Assistant Professor of History, affiliated with Colgate's programs in Women's Studies and Museum Studies. Her research centers women, girlhoods, and religion in nineteenth- and twentieth-century North American history and explores the role of women, gender, and sexuality in history museum spaces.

This work has been supported by the Women's Studies in Religion program at Harvard Divinity School, the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Council for Library and Information Resources (CLIR), and Colgate University's Upstate Institute.

She regularly teaches courses on history methods, U.S. feminisms, and public history. She has supported Colgate history majors interested in completing a Field of Focus in gender & sexuality history, political history, Black history, and social movement histories, among others.

My book project, Girlhood and the Making of Nineteenth-Century American Catholicism, argues for the centrality of young women's narratives in U.S. Catholic history and explores the material cultures of young women's spaces. As I think through the categories of girlhood and youth, I am also beginning to write with my own family history to explore visual histories of Puerto Rican childhoods in mid-20th century New York City.

Inspired by the push to mark the 2020 centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, I have been engaged in speaking and writing projects that assess the state of women's history in New York-area museums, archives, and monuments, and the intersection of women's and gender history with rapid response collecting initiatives. I consult on digital history, collections building, and exhibitions projects, and I am always eager to connect with students interested in pursuing public history and museum opportunities. 

Prior to coming to Colgate, I taught at Bryn Mawr College, where, as Director of the Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women's Education, I helped develop the collections portal "College Women: Documenting the History of Women in Higher Education" and mentored student researchers working on campus history projects.

Journal Articles
"'Catholicism is Getting to Be the Style': White Women and the Making of Catholic Culture at the Catholic Summer School of America, 1892-1914," Religion & American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation 32.2 (Summer 2022): 236-266.

"Postcards from the Convent" (single authored) and "In Conversation: eBay Method and the Study of Religion," with Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada, James Bielo, and Kate Dugan, Material Religion 17.5 (December 2021): 652-661.

"The Politics of Women’s History: Collecting for the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in New York State," Collections: A Journal for Museums and Archives Professionals 14.3 (Summer 2018): 331-350.

"'Have You Ever Read?': Imagining Women, Bibles, and Religious Print in Nineteenth-Century America," U.S. Catholic Historian 31.3 (Summer 2013): 1-21.

Book Chapters
"Putting Women on a Pedestal: Monument Debates in the Era of the Suffrage Centennial," in Suffrage at 100: Women in American Politics Since 1920, eds. Stacie Taranto and Leandra Zarnow (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020), 395-412.

"Religion, Race, and Sexuality," in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Race in American History, eds. Kathryn Gin Lum and Paul Harvey (Oxford University Press, 2018), 96-109.

Online Publications / Digital History
"Picturing Catholic Girlhood: Religion, Portrait Photography, and Building Latina/o/x Collections," Smithsonian Voices/Smithsonian Magazine online (2022)

"Loretto Academy (Nerinx, KY)," Empty Places series, American Religion journal (2020)

"Summer Camp: American Religion and Recreation in the Great Outdoors," The Anxious Bench (2019)

“Taking Stock of Gender History at AHA19,” AHA Perspectives Daily, American Historical Association (2019)

"Mapping the Women of Evangelical Gotham," review of Kyle B. Roberts, Evangelical Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York City, 1783-1860 (University of Chicago Press, 2016) for Religion in American History (2017)

Exhibition Catalogue
'On Equal Terms' -- Educating Women at the University of Chicago, co-authored with Katherine Turk (Chicago: University of Chicago Library, 2009)

Recent Book Reviews
A Saint of Our Own: How the Quest for a Holy Hero Helped Catholics Become American by Kathleen Sprows Cummings. Journal of American History 107.2 (September 2020): 507-508.

Elizabeth Seton: American Saint by Catherine O'Donnell. Journal of the Early Republic 40.3 (Fall 2020): 569-572.

Additional reviews in The Hudson River Valley Review, American Catholic Studies, The Journal of Religion, New York History, and Western Historical Quarterly.

  • HIST 199 History Workshop  
  • HIST 211 Women's Rights in U.S. History  
  • HIST 213 Women in the City 
  • HIST 304 Sex and Sexualities in U.S. History 
  • MUSE 310 Curating Public History: Utopia, Sex and Silver at the Oneida Community Mansion House
  • HIST 313 Upstate History
  • HIST 400 Senior Seminar / HIST 490 Honors Seminar
  • BA, Barnard College
  • AM/PhD, University of Chicago 
  • Research Associate and Visiting Assistant Professor of North American Religions, Women's Studies in Religion Program, Harvard Divinity School (2019-2020)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend (2019) 
  • Mother Theodore Guerin Research Grant, University of Notre Dame Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism (2019)
  • Upstate Institute faculty research fellowship for "Women at the Catholic Summer School of America, 1891-1911," Colgate University (2018)
  • Bicentennial Projects grant for teaching and learning, "Coeducation comes to Colgate: Campus History as U.S. Women’s History," Colgate University (2017)
  • Council on Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellow, Bryn Mawr College (2014-2016)
  • Junior Fellowship, Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion, University of Chicago Divinity School (2013-2014)
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, University of Chicago (2012-2013)