With this volume, we enter the third decade of Contemporary Aesthetics. Last year, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of our journal with the Special Volume, Twenty Years of Contemporary Aesthetics. Looking Back. Looking Forward. We invited authors to share their thoughts about where aesthetics discourse has been and where it is going. It is clear from their contributions that this is both an exciting and challenging time for aesthetics, and that Contemporary Aesthetics can play an important role in the ongoing evolution of the discourse.
Specifically, the scope of aesthetics is expanding, in part by returning aesthetics to its historical origin in a study of the senses and sensibility, in part by reimagining the integration of aesthetics in society at large and in the lives of concrete individuals. The reach of aesthetics is also widening by questioning the legitimacy and viability of the long-standing Eurocentric and patriarchal perspective that has governed the discipline for too long. The essays collected in the Special Volume illuminate how aesthetics is enriched by including a variety of voices and perspectives, such as those emerging from Black aesthetics, feminist theorizing, liberatory art practices, and different cultural traditions. In another way, aesthetics is enriched by proactively addressing the aesthetic implications of a lifeworld forced to accommodate rapidly developing technological and climate change. Listening to diverse voices broadens our aesthetic horizons and helps us critically analyze the deeply entrenched assumptions that still guide mainstream, English-language aesthetics, today.
The Founding Editor of Contemporary Aesthetics, Arnold Berleant, established this journal as an academic space for promoting true inclusivity, welcoming contributions from different cultures, orientations, and disciplines. Over the past two decades, we received and published works by authors from diverse backgrounds, and we are resolved to continue supporting those works that offer constructive, creative, and imaginative explorations of aesthetic issues that matter to a wide range of readers.
We continue to receive submissions from many corners of the world and from different disciplinary commitments. In 2022, we received submissions from China, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Spain, and Taiwan, in addition to those from Anglophone countries. The disciplinary backgrounds of authors submitting papers ranged from agronomy, architecture, art, art and design history, English, cinema and media studies, design, and sociology to philosophy. The topics addressed were also diverse, allowing us to publish papers on aphorism, architectural atmosphere, gardens, and the aesthetics of reading, as well as a symposium on John Carvalho’s recent book, Thinking with Images: An Enactivist Aesthetics.
Many open access journals in aesthetics assign a specific theme for each volume. While the ten Special Volumes we have published are thematically allied, we make room in our journal for what proves to be a rather eclectic collection of papers. In tandem with theme-driven Special Volumes, we are committed to providing a venue for work that may stray from the mainstream, both in terms of theme and tone. For example, we were publishing works on the aesthetics of video games as early as 2005, long before this topic became as popular as it is today. In fact, those papers on video games consistently rank as some of the most read papers in our journal. Furthermore, we have published papers on unlikely subject matters, such as cockroaches, conventual pastry, dust, and laundry, as well as papers committed to the study of fine art. We believe it is important to foster work on any subject that contributes to promoting an expanded scope and role for aesthetics.
Our commitment to inclusivity is shared by those reviewers who are generous in their comments, sometimes including suggestions for improving writing when they detect that the author’s first language is not English. For Volume 20, we have benefitted from the following reviewers, and we hereby want to express our deep appreciation for their service: Thomas Adajian; Alfred Archer; Vanessa Brassey; John Carvalho; Anthony Cascardi; Peter Cheyne; Robert Clewis; Peter Doebler; James Dow; Brad Elicker; Susan Feagin; Garry Hagberg; James Kirwan; Sanna Lehtinen; Tom Leddy; Mara Miller; Thi Nguyen; Ariane Nomikos; Glenn Parsons; Délia Popa; Stephanie Ross; Larry Shiner; Samantha Vice; Zhuofei Wang; Quinn White; Mary Beth Willard; Mark Windsor; Sarah Worth.
As in previous years, in 2022, we were pleased to give permission for including papers published in Contemporary Aesthetics in monographs and anthologies published by others. Congratulations to Erik Anderson, Arnold Berleant, Michael Ranta, and Zhuofei Wang for finding new venues for work that first found a home at Contemporary Aesthetics.
Our readership is steadily growing, and Contemporary Aesthetics is now being read on every continent except Antarctica! We are happy to learn that our articles are used not only for scholars’ research but also for their teaching.
As always, I continue to benefit from the wise counsel of the editorial board members, in particular Associate Editor, John Carvalho, and Founding Editor, Arnold Berleant. We welcomed Sanna Lehtinen of Aalto University as a new board member, who agreed to serve as an Assistant Editor. Both John and Sanna have been helping me with the process of reviewing submitted papers. Still, the publication of this journal is not possible without the work of our most capable assistant, Lynnie Lyman, who this year had to tackle a particularly challenging task regarding the inclusion of visual images in articles. We are also fortunate to have Anne Berleant as our copy editor. Anne’s timely and meticulous work that, while maintaining a house style still respects each author’s distinct voice, is much appreciated by us and, most importantly, by our authors. I express my deep appreciation to all of them.
We are determined to continue our contribution to the development of aesthetics discourse. We would appreciate your support by sending your work to us, recommending your colleagues and students do the same, and using the articles published in our journal for research and teaching.
Yuriko Saito, Editor