I won’t waste words describing the hardships of 2020. Anybody reading this experienced the impact of the pandemic and social strife in our country over the past year. For many of us, the inequalities and issues under the spotlight the past year have been felt for much longer and more acutely. I, like many of you, have a rather short book of fond 2020 memories to thumb through and reflect on. One of the few highlights for me (and hopefully OTH readers) in 2020 is the work my colleagues and I have put in launching the new Oh, the Humanities! (OTH).
As a medium to discuss, share, and ask questions within the ever-evolving definition of the “humanities”, working on OTH has meant something wholly unexpected for me after such a challenging year. Yes, the mission of promoting dialogue around the humanities, highlighting interesting works and projects, and exploring our readers’ expertise through original storytelling were all critical during OTH’s re-launch. The unexpected value I experienced, especially while in the deepest moments of quarantine, was the chance to connect the stories, projects, and reflections shared by our readers to the questions which consumed my anxieties and dejection over society’s current state. Even as an ardent supporter of the humanities, before the OTH re-launch I often felt that in defending them I drew too heavily upon esoteric or intangible concepts and felt as if my passion for the humanities was largely curated by my privilege and social bubble.
The re-launch of OTH has reminded me of the beauty and challenge presented to those of us who are invested in the humanities. The beauty lies in understanding more of the world and society we live in by empathizing with new views, continuing to read and write critically, and connecting expertise with practices to bring forth in the public sphere. The challenge lies in how we connect all the dots and communicate to wider audiences the value of work in the humanities and why the humanities are essential for a just, informed society. Whether reading in-depth expertise in Art History or Race, promoting new modes of scholarly communication, evaluating the role of the humanities in public spaces, or serving your community and opening your perspective to challenges, everyone at OTH hopes to see you continue to participate in our small corner of the dialogue on critical subjects and developments for stakeholders in the humanities—which is everyone!