As we begin the new year with Volume 18 (2020), I am happy to report that Contemporary Aesthetics (CA) continues to attract authors and readers from diverse geographical, cultural, and disciplinary backgrounds. This is partly due to CA being an open access journal, but I believe it is more importantly due to CA’s commitment to inclusivity that welcomes and promotes constructive works on aesthetics from different perspectives and approaches. This was the vision of the founding editor, Arnold Berleant, who started CA eighteen years ago as the first open access journal in aesthetics. At the editor’s helm for the first sixteen years, Arnold firmly established CA’s reputation and I have been fortunate to inherit the legacy he has created.
For Volume 17 (2019), we received submissions from Brazil, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, and Turkey, in addition to Anglophone countries. The geographical reach of readership is equally diverse. The disciplinary background of authors ranged from philosophy and art history to architecture, art, cognitive science, journalism, music performance, public health, and urban studies. Submissions from non-Anglophone authors sometimes pose challenges, but the reviewers, copy editor, and I try our best to work with those authors whose articles merit extra assistance with English.
In my editorial of Volume 17 (2019), I invited submissions for Short Notes that summarize recent books on aesthetics not available in English. This initiative was intended to facilitate access to works in aesthetics beyond the Anglophone domain. I have been pleased to receive positive responses, and we have published four such Short Notes in 2019. I wish to thank those authors who heeded my call and made valuable contributions. I continue to invite such submissions, because it is important that Anglophone readers are informed about the important works being done in other languages.
One of the exciting accomplishments for Volume 17 (2019) is the publication of a Special Volume on aesthetics and terrorism. It was a one-year project spearheaded by the guest editor, Emmanouil Aretoulakis. The subject is timely and the different ways in which six authors address this issue are quite fascinating. I thank Emmanouil for his meticulous work that included not only selecting from submitted articles but also working closely with each author. To my knowledge, this collection is the first anthology on this topic and we are very happy to have published this Special Volume in CA. I thank all six authors for their excellent work.
We are planning two Special Volumes this year, and I thank both guest editors in advance. I will ask readers to “stay tuned”!
CA has always been committed to promoting those works that explore issues that matter to our lives and societies, as well as those works that expand the aesthetic horizon by addressing heretofore unexplored issues. Volume 17 (2019) was no exception, covering issues ranging from black aesthetics, decolonializing aesthetics, and ecological aesthetics, to the role of aesthetics in financial markets, the aesthetics of astronomical photographs, and Chinese ink painting as a spiritual ritual. We are determined to keep publishing those works that are constructive, thought- provoking, and relevant to our lives and societies, reaching beyond disciplinary and cultural boundaries.
Volume 18 (2020) opens with an article and a Short Note that address an urgent issue that poses a real threat to humanity: climate change. Both pieces explore aesthetics’ role in responding to this threat. What is particularly fascinating about this pair of works is that they remind us that this issue affects all of us. The author of the article is a world-renowned senior scholar, while the Short Note is authored by a 16-year-old pupil, just like Greta Thunberg! The way in which the young generation is grappling with the climate crisis is most impressive, and we should support their exploration and activism. The publication of this Short Note also demonstrates that CA takes its blind review policy quite seriously.
We have been blessed with a dedicated group of reviewers who volunteer a significant amount of time to providing extensive and substantial comments. They are true educators by helping to improve discourse and discussion, even for works which they recommend rejection. For Volume 17 (2019), we are grateful to the following reviewers: Luvall Anderson, Christopher Bartel, Jeremy Bendik-Keymer, Arnold Berleant, Jeanette Bicknell, Aili Bresnahan, Isis Brook, Peter Cheyne, John Carvalho, Rafael De Clercq, Mădălina Diaconu, Lindsay French, Brent Kalar, James Kirwan, Deborah Knight; Carolyn Korsmeyer, Tom Leddy, Kevin Melchionne, Bence Nanay, Ossi Naukkarinen, Dorothea Olkowski, Panos Paris, Stephanie Patridge, Charles Peterson, Stephanie Ross, Yrjö Sepänmaa, Larry Shiner, Matthew Strohl, Julie Van Camp, Pauline von Bonsdorff, Barbara von Eckardt, Zhuofei Wang, Mary Wiseman, and Stephen Zepke.
I am also grateful for the continuing support and wise counsel of the Founding Editor, Arnold Berleant; Associate Editor, John Carvalho; and the members of the Editorial Board. I also appreciate the support of the members of the International Advisory Board, who have responded to my call for summaries of recent books not available in English.
Our publication is not possible without the prompt and meticulous work of our copy editor, Anne Berleant. She works with a light and sensitive touch so that the authors’ voices do not get compromised, for which authors are grateful.
The journal cannot function without the dedicated work of our assistant, Lynnie Lyman. She does all the work involved in uploading articles and other content of the journal, which itself requires attention to detail and working closely with authors. However, this only comprises a fraction of her work for the journal. The past year was particularly challenging, as we were updating the publishing platform to keep up with the ever changing technological landscape. At the time of writing this editorial, we are still working on the changes, and all of the work falls on her as she works with the technician. I want to take this opportunity to publicly express my heartfelt appreciation to her for her hard work.
Finally, I want to thank the readers for your support by using CA articles for teaching and research. Nothing pleases us more than to know that CA is making contributions to aesthetics discourse in this way. It is a free service we are happy to offer, so please continue to take full advantage! Wishing everyone all the best for 2020.
Yuriko Saito, Editor