The Public Humanities Fellows from 2017 and 2018 set a high bar for the program, but Shelby Brewster, Emily Herrington, and Codee Spinner (above from left to right) still cleared it with ease. The program once again placed humanities doctoral students in local cultural institutions and allowed them to apply their skills and knowledge in non-academic settings. It also served as another reminder of the broad value of the humanities and the important contributions they make to Pittsburgh on a daily basis. Read below for a description of this year's projects, or click here for more information on the program.
Department: Theatre Arts
Partner: Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Dissertation Title: Planetary Praxis: Performance under Climate Crises
Project Title: Benchmarking the Anthropocene
Project Description: Shelby's project had her researching science-based museums to understand the ways they incorporate humanistic narratives and viewpoints into exhibits addressing the Anthropocene. The interdisciplinary nature of her dissertation research and her specific focus on the Anthropocene prepared her well for the project, which will be incorporated into the museum's ongoing work in this area.
Partner: Heinz History Center
Dissertation Title: Conceptions of "Success": The Ethics and Rhetoric of Hand Transplantation
Project Title: Highlighting Medical Innovation in Pittsburgh
Project Description: Emily worked with the History Center to expand their presentation of the history of medical innovation in Pittsburgh. Her background in science writing prepared her to present scientific information to public audiences, and her dissertation work, which focused on the history and outcomes of hand transplantation, gave her a good understanding of the challenges and possibilities associated with transplant science.
Partner: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Dissertation Title: Sounding Life after Death: Spiritualism, Music, and Community in Lily Dale, New York (1848-1940)
Project Title: Researching CLP's Special Collections
Project Description: For her project, Codee researched personal libraries or individual books donated to the Carnegie Library between the late 1800s and early 1900s to help the library create a more complete picture of their collections and donors. The time period of her doctoral research, her familiarity with local archives, and her talent for archival research made her a perfect fit for the position.