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Editorial


The year 2018 and Volume 16 ushered in a new chapter for this journal with the change of editorship from Arnold Berleant to me, Yuriko Saito. I felt the weight of responsibility for maintaining the legacy built by Arnold. The learning curve was steep but the experience has been both rewarding and educational. With the help and support from the many people mentioned below, we were able to complete Volume 16 successfully and now begin Volume 17. Last year’s experience as Editor convinced me more than ever that Contemporary Aesthetics makes a unique contribution to aesthetics discourse and I am renewing my resolve for CA to keep serving the profession of aesthetics.

What is striking about CA’s authorship and readership is our truly global reach. With Volume 16 alone, the authors hail not only from English-speaking countries but also from China, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, Singapore, Slovakia, and Spain. Their disciplinary backgrounds are also diverse: art history, criminology, humanities, law, music, philosophy, psychology, social sciences, studio art, and visual studies. Such geographical, cultural, and disciplinary diversity has always been a hallmark of this journal, due in part to its open-access availability, but more importantly because of Arnold’s tireless effort to build and promote an inclusive venue for intellectual exchange. Such diversity provides a rich opportunity for widening our horizons while reminding us of the specificity, and sometimes limitation, of our own perspectives.

I am committed to continuing our efforts to promote this diversity in academic exchange. One initiative I am starting in this regard is to invite scholars to write a short summary of recent books on aesthetics that are not available in English. Although our authors and readers are not confined to Anglophones, CA is an English language publication. As such, lively activities in aesthetics discourse outside of the English domain are not easily accessible to many readers. This is quite unfortunate but a reality we face. One way of rectifying this situation, at least to some degree, is to make available a summary of recent works published in languages other than English. This is the next best thing to having an English translation of the entire book. I am therefore inviting readers who have read good works in aesthetics published recently that are not available in English to submit a short (300-800 words) summary to us. For examples, please see: https://contempaesthetics.org/newvolume/pages/article.php?articleID=804 and https://contempaesthetics.org/newvolume/pages/article.php?articleID=856.

Our new volume starts with a big bang, so to speak. Quite fortuitously, the first article and the two Short Notes with which we begin Volume 17 all happen to address the aesthetics of the cosmic sphere. Somehow the stars have lined up to facilitate this coincidence! This celestial scope of aesthetics underscores the recent development in aesthetics that highlights the ubiquity of aesthetic materials, from terrestrial to celestial.  While we look up at the sky and reflect on its aesthetics, we also look down and gain an aesthetic experience from mundane objects with which we literally interact on a daily basis. The case in point is the utility tunnel access cover (a.k.a. manhole cover) that we chose for the cover image for this volume. (For those who are interested, there is an amazing collection of such images at http://462photoblog.net/?page_id=16. Just click on “Japan” at top right. I thank our editorial board member, Mădălina Diaconu, for finding this link.)

Over the years, we have published papers exploring subject matters that are usually not addressed in aesthetics, such as laundry-hanging, domestic chores, cockroaches, conversation, weather, MRI, and, most recently, dust and trauma. Together they indicate that there is virtually nothing that is not worthy of aesthetic investigation. We hope to continue publishing papers that open such new and unexpected fields of aesthetic inquiry as well as those works that explore well-trodden issues from a new perspective.

We are fortunate to receive support from a number of distinguished scholars who volunteer their time to review submissions. We are particularly grateful to their dedication to writing a thorough review that helps authors even if their judgment is to reject. For Volume 16, we had the privilege of receiving such service from the following reviewers: Arnold Berleant, Riva Berleant, Nathalie Blanc, Emily Brady, David Brubaker, John Carvalho, Daniel Cavicchi, Peter Cheyne, Tim Costelloe,  Mădălina Diaconu, Ivan Gaskell, Darren Hick, Sherri Irvin, Jennifer Judkins, Michael Kelly, Deborah Knight, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Tom Leddy, Katya Mandoki, Kevin Melchionne,  Aaron Meskin, María del Carmen Molina Barea, Barbara Montero, Eric Mullis, Yrjö Sepänmaa, Sandra Shapshay, Larry Shiner, Brian Soucek, Julie Van Camp, Pauline von Bonsdorff, Barbara von Eckardt, Mary Wiseman, and Xin Wu.

I also want to thank our editorial board members for their continuing support and wise counsel. In particular, I thank John Carvalho, Associate Editor, for giving me steadfast assistance by pitching in even during the busiest time of the semester, as well as lending not only his academic expertise but also administrative experience. 

My work for this year would not have been possible without the generous help of the previous editor, Arnold Berleant. He was most patient and supportive during this transitional year as I was finding my way. Although I need to cut the apron strings to release him from the running of this journal, I have to confess I have not been able to do so completely yet. He always responded to my queries and requests with good cheer by sharing the rich reservoir of his experience, for which I am most grateful.

I would not have been able to function without the work of our most capable assistant, Lynnie Lyman. I call her my lifeline. She created a system for me to work entirely through electronic means, used her amazing organizational skills to make my work so much easier than if I were to do it alone, and she always works proactively by anticipating issues before I even think of them. She has been a dream assistant and I can’t thank her enough.

I should also express my appreciation for our copy-editor, Anne Berleant, whose work is indispensable for our journal but remains invisible to the readers. Her work is meticulous and speedy, but most importantly, her editing keeps the author’s style and voice. In particular, those authors whose native language is not English benefited greatly from her thorough editing.

Finally, I thank you, the readers, for supporting CA by using our articles both for teaching and your own research, as well as by making generous donations, all of which are indispensable for this journal’s operation. We will try our best to keep publishing good works in aesthetics that are worthy of your continuing support.

 

Respectfully,

Yuriko Saito