Biden and the return of the humanities
By Sandy Alexandre
With recent announcements of the scholars nominated to be on President Biden’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, many Americans are rightly rejoicing about the return of good science to the White House. Lest all of the fanfare for White House returnees be bestowed disproportionately on good science, we would do well to presume that, with the Biden administration, the good humanities make a comeback too. But how would we even know that? Unlike science, the manner in which the humanities make their presence and impact known can be subtle.
If the workings of the humanities are implicit by nature, we got a very conspicuous glimpse of their desired return to the White House when, soon after Biden’s election victory, many automatically assumed that he would have an inaugural poem featured at his inauguration. Clearly, they were on to something, because the poet who was ultimately chosen — the sparkling Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman — sprinkled the words of her democratic poem “The Hill We Climb” all over the air, enchanting the atmosphere, shifting the energy, mesmerizing us and smoothing the way for hope and light.