Monica L. Mercado

Women and the Word: Gender, Print, and Catholic Identity in Nineteenth-Century America

I am honored to spend my last year in Hyde Park as a Junior Fellow of the Marty Center, where I will complete work on my dissertation, entitled "Women and the Word: Gender, Print, and Catholic Identity in Nineteenth-Century America." My project focuses on the vast output of a vibrant American Catholic publishing industry, and the women readers, writers, and institutions that grew up around it after the Civil War. I use books and reading to illustrate the formation of Catholic laywomen’s identities and highlight the role of laywomen as makers of culture and status for upwardly mobile, second- and third-generation American Catholics.
Having previously taught college-level history, Catholic studies, and women's and gender studies courses, I will also use this year to think critically about the role of religion in the U.S. history survey, as I prepare to teach a course in Spring 2014 on the topic of U.S. women's history. In addition to my research and teaching, I have been involved in a variety of projects that make history more accessible to a wider audience, and I appreciate the Marty Center's emphasis on challenging graduate students to engage with the public humanities. I am particularly interested in studying the role of gender and sexuality in forming and re-forming religious communities, and I look forward to exploring these issues with my Marty Center colleagues, building conversations across academic disciplines and religious traditions.

Department of History