The editorial for a new volume of a scholarly journal
can serve many different purposes, as ours have done. Typically, we have reviewed the
accomplishments of the past year, changes in the operation and policies of the
journal, and plans for the future. What
is probably unique in our case is that we cannot predict the contents of the next volume. One of the many advantages of electronic
publication is that we have no delays because of printing and mailing
schedules. For that reason we do not
need lead time of a year or two. From
the start we have published continuously throughout the year, not being
hampered by volume size or printing deadlines.
Once a paper is accepted, it undergoes an editing process and may appear
on line in a matter of weeks or even days.
Thus in character with the expectation of timeliness that a journal
intends in name if not in practice, what you read in Contemporary Aesthetics is as current as high publication standards
allow. This means that the final
appearance of a volume may be as much a surprise to the editors as to the
readers. What CA offers, then, is the result of opportunity, not design. Our contents are as varied as scholarly
interests and editorial policy allow.
Except for our special volumes, we have issued no themed volumes.
As we look back on the past year, we are surprised to
discover that not only have we published more papers than in any previous
single volume, but that we have produced a heavily international volume
containing a preponderance of work by authors whose native language is not
English. This many make us unique among
English-language aesthetics journals. Of
our twenty-two authors, thirteen represent work being done in twelve different countries: Austria, Canada, China, Finland, France,
Germany, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey, in addition to
the United States. Most of this work
would not be easily accessible if not for Contemporary
Aesthetics. At the same time, publishing
such work places a heavy burden on our editorial process, for as admirable as
it is that so many scholars are multi-lingual, it is rare for scholars to write
idiomatically in a language that is not their native tongue. This means that every paper by a non-native
English speaker published in CA must
undergo multiple editorial revisions and reviews, often well beyond the usual two
or three. As you might gather, this is an extremely
time-consuming process. We consider such
an effort eminently worthwhile, the importance of offering this work far
outweighing the labor of preparing it for publication. But it is nonetheless a heavy load.
We are also pleased to have completed a volume of Contemporary Aesthetics as wide in range
as it is in authorship. The papers'
focus ranges from knitting to wind, from
music to photography. It is worth noting
the decided attention to political and social aesthetics. Volume 11 also hosts one of our infrequent
symposia, this one on aesthetic engagement.
We are, as always, especially
grateful to the scholars who have contributed to our review process for Vol.
11. These include Riva
Berleant-Schiller, Allen Carlson, John
Carvalho, Xiangzhan Cheng, Angela Curran, Mădălina Diaconu, Jale Erzen, Dan
Flory, Ivan Gaskell, Stan Godlovitch, James R. Hamilton, Barry Hammer, Espen
Hammer, Andrew Kania, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Estella Lauter, Yuedi Liu, Eva Kit Wah
Man, Katya Mandoki, Glenn Parsons, William Rothman, Maryvonne Saison, Yuriko
Saito, Greg Scott, Larry Shiner, Julie Van Camp, Renée van de Vall, Keping
Wang, and Mary Wiseman. Many thanks to
With Vol. 11 we initiated a subscription process at no
charge so that we could identify regular readers of Contemporary Aesthetics and send them occasional announcements of
new additions to the current volume.
These notices are generally sent quarterly, and remind readers about
what has newly appeared in CA and
what will soon be published. This
feature has had a good response, our original list doubling in size during the
year. Our current subscription list is
close to 300 and increases daily. We
also distributed a request for contributions to help offset our editorial and
publication costs this has been moderately successful. We are grateful to those readers who
recognize the hard realities of producing this journal and responded with their
Our usage continues
to increase each year and, while it will likely level off at some point, we
haven't yet reached our maximum! There
are three sources for our statistical data and, as might be expected, they do
not always agree. Two general sources
(Google Analytics and Webalizer) reflect gross usage, while Michigan
Publishing, which archives Contemporary
Aesthetics, reflects mainly scholarly usage. Each year has shown a significant gain in
readers over the preceding one. For 2013
CA had an overall total of about
117,000 visits, as compared to about 90,000 in 2012. Scholarly access for 2013 was about 15,000
compared with about 8,000 for 2012.
These figures should please our authors!
What is also interesting is that readers are taking advantage of the
ease with which earlier volumes can be accessed from our Journal page by a
single key stroke. We have discovered
that the articles that are most frequently read may come from any of the
previous volumes, not just the current one.
It is gratifying to know, too, that we regularly have requests for
reprinting articles originally appearing in
CA. Some of our articles have been
translated into other languages for journals and anthologies, and many are used
in college courses.
Our mission is to
make current scholarship in aesthetics easily accessible, work that for various
reasons – political or ideological or the vagaries of fashion – might never see
the light in an English language publication.
We thank our authors for their
confidence in Contemporary Aesthetics
and our readers for their interest in the work we offer, and we encourage your
Arnold Berleant, Editor