(PhD 2019 in History of Science and Medicine, Teaching Fellow, Public Humanities 2018-19)
Haesoo Park engaged in 3 primary projects as a Public Humanities teaching fellow:1) to carry out interviews with students, faculty, and staff at Yale University concerning the topic of public humanities; establish links between organizations in New Haven, Yale, and the Public Humanities Fellow Position to foster the continuity of cooperation beyond his own time as a fellow; and to expand ways to re-think how to engage the public in New Haven. Through his formal and informal conversations with about a dozen or so members of the Yale community, he learned firsthand about frustrations as a result of the fragmented communication systems at Yale that can be an obstacle in inter-departmental cooperation for public humanities activities. Park has been creating an informal database, which is tracking ways that information is dispersed within Yale, including through flyers, e-mails, public posts. Thus far, the decentralized and over-saturated nature of information systems at Yale is one of the biggest obstacles at making events public. His investigation has provided two useful insights: that the Yale Senate, which had pushed for a Calendar system last year to integrate the events and functions of various departments, should make this happen; and to cooperate with social scientists and perhaps GIS experts to actually conduct a formal study and map out the way this information overflow is an impediment to “reaching the public.” 2) Park has also met with the public outreach and education offices at the New Haven Museum and the Yale Center for the British Art in the position of Fellow in the Public Humanities program. (Thus, if they want to reach someone to talk about the connection between public humanities and these institutions in the future, they will know that it might not be Park they will speak to). He suggests creating Yale e-mail addresses that are administered by the Fellow. As the fellow, he has also been invited to attend monthly meetings of all the members of the Archive/Library system. Additionally, he has been invited to visit branches of the public library in New Haven next semester. 3) Lastly, Park is learning more about the public and, as part of duties as the Yale Professional and Graduate Students’ Senator, he has begun plans to reach out to the Dwight center and other organizations to think about New Haven as a public. As his interviewees have noted, the “public” is actually “publics.” While his work will focus on how to involve Yale in homelessness projects, he will also be learning about what a public humanities that is more in tune with the publics means.