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Editorial


It is gratifying once again to introduce a new volume of Contemporary Aesthetics on a high note. Last year we were pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of Perspectives in Contemporary Aesthetics, a collection of papers selected from our first decade of publication. This book, published by the Rhode Island School of Design, has now appeared in print and is featured on our home page. Its imaginative and unique design makes it not only a pleasure to view and to use but may be regarded as an icon of Contemporary Aesthetics, itself. The design has received professional acclaim. It is one of the winners of the book design award from the Society for Typographical Arts (http://100.sta-chicago.org), and the graduate student who worked on the design, Scarlett Meng, received a Student Notable Visual Communication Award, one of their Core 77 Design Awards 2016. (http://designawards.core77.com/Visual-Communication/50412/Perspectives-on-Contemporary-Aesthetics).

Contemporary Aesthetics has pioneered in online, open access scholarly journal publication. Publishing a journal in the digital age offers possibilities not available to print publication, and the design of Contemporary Aesthetics exploits many of these, including freedom from the constraints of page size and separation, the direct accessibility of endnotes in the text without the intrusiveness of parenthetical citations and the inconvenience of flipping to back pages, and free and fast access to all readers, along with the resources of an on-line publication directly at hand. Our search feature, for example, covers the present and all past volumes, another valuable research tool possible only in an online publication. And we can insert images, video, film and sound clips directly in the text. The results of our efforts have borne out our confidence in online publication.

Over these years, CA has been concerned with overcoming the ephemeral nature of periodical publication. In a print journal, once an issue is superseded by a newer one, the old issue becomes increasingly difficult to find (unless it occupies valuable shelf space) and drifts into the shadows of oblivion. We have overcome the transitory nature of journal publication in two ways. One has been to preserve past volumes and make them immediately accessible on our Publications page, for below the contents of the current volume are listed all the previous ones. By clicking on any volume, the entire contents of that volume appears and individual articles are retrieved by a click. This, in effect, makes Contemporary Aesthetics a continuous, living anthology, since new work in the current volume is added to that in all the previous ones, and all are immediately and directly accessible. 

In addition, we have long been concerned with archiving Contemporary Aesthetics so that it is preserved independently of our server. This would seem especially desirable with the immaterial nature of digital publication. Digital archives are available, however, and Contemporary Aesthetics has been fortunate to have been archived formerly by M Publishing, an outgrowth of the University of Michigan Library. Financial constraints along with the desire to retain our autonomy have led us to seek other means of archiving CA. We have long been fortunate to receive encouragement and support from the Rhode Island School of Design and are now archived through the RISD Digital Commons site. All the volumes of Contemporary Aesthetics are permanently preserved in Digital Commons independently of our server, offering at the same time an alternative route to the journal: http://digitalcommons.risd.edu/liberalarts_contempaesthetics/. We are grateful to Mark Pompelia, RISD's visual and material resource librarian, and his assistant, Emily Begin, for taking on this project and successfully archiving all CA past volumes.

I am delighted to note the recognition that Dr. Mădălina Diaconu (University of Vienna, Austria) has received for her article, "Longing for Clouds - Does Beautiful Weather Have To Be Fine?"  (http://www.contempaesthetics.org/newvolume/pages/article.php?articleID=719 ) in Contemporary Aesthetics, Vol. 13 (2015). This article received the "Article of the Year in the Field of Aesthetics for 2016" award by the Finnish Society for Aesthetics together with the Slovak Association for Aesthetics for the best article published that year in the field of aesthetics. The judges cited the topic for being highly original yet with universal appeal (we all deal with weather), and commended the methodology for being "fusionist in a way that makes it a suitable reading for all followers of any schools and approach of philosophy." (To read more about this award, visit: finnishsocietyforaesthetics.blogspot.com). We think that this award also recognizes the quality of the work published in Contemporary Aesthetics and its contribution to current scholarship in aesthetics.

Let me bring this editorial to a close by mentioning what is perhaps the most significant development in the ongoing evolution of Contemporary Aesthetics. This is the imminent transfer of editorial authority to a scholar who has long served as advisor, reviewer, and associate editor, Yuriko Saito, Professor of Philosophy at the Rhode Island School of Design. From its earliest days, CA has benefitted from Yuriko's clear and wise judgment and sound advice. Eminently fair yet true to the distinctive mission of our journal, her constructive influence pervades our publication. I know of no better hands in which to entrust this enterprise, which has established itself internationally as a unique contribution to the development of aesthetics in our time.

I cannot end without warm thanks to the scholars who have reviewed submissions for us over the past year. They include Julie van Camp, John Carvalho, Stephen Davies, Barbara von Eckardt, Jale Erzen, Ivan Gaskell, David Goldblatt, Tom Leddy, Yuriko Saito, Larry Shiner, Jason Wirth, and Mary Wiseman. I want to acknowledge with gratitude the sound advice and unswerving support of our Editorial Board and the invaluable assistance of my editorial assistant, Lynnie Ramsdell Lyman. Finally, without our many readers throughout the world and without their financial support, Contemporary Aesthetics could not accomplish its mission. To all my deepest thanks.

Arnold Berleant, Editor