Newsletter of the American Society for Aesthetics
Annual Report to the Board of Trustees—October 2016
Three issues of the Newsletter were published since our last Annual Report. Winter 2015 (vol. 35, no. 3) contained an article by Thomas Wartenberg, “Doing Philosophy with Children,” “Exquisite Palimpsests,” by Mara Leigh Koslen, and reminiscences of Francis Sparshott by Jenefer Robinson Philip Alperson. Spring 2016 (vol. 36, no. 1) featured “Arts of the Impossible,” by Fisher Prize winner Jason Leddington, as well as “An Aesthetics of Games,” by C. Thi Nguyen. The Summer 2016 issue (vol. 36, no. 2) was devoted to the 25th anniversary of the ASA’s Feminist Caucus, and contained articles by Sherri Irvin (“How and Why to Teach Inclusively in Aesthetics”), Sheila Lintott (“Aesthetics, Feminist Theory, and Feminist Aesthetics”), and John Carvalho (“On the ‘Post’ in ‘Post-Feminism’).
We would like to thank all of our contributors for the rich and diverse collection of articles and for conference reports from the various ASA meetings. The Newsletter has benefited from people approaching us with new ideas and suggestions for articles, and we hope that people will continue to do so in the future. We continue to welcome submissions for our major columns: Aesthetics News, Conference Reports, Calls for Papers, Upcoming Events and Active Aestheticians, as well as suggestions for articles. In the coming year, we will be continuing our various series, including articles from ASA members who are also artists (about their art and its relationship to their work in aesthetics), the “Author’s Perspective” series, and book reviews from a teaching perspective. If you would like to submit an article or book review, please contact the editors.
Maintaining our practices of the last few years, we have been printing the logo and trim for the Newsletter in color, and including black-and-white images of art and our authors. We continue to work with Jason Zibell of the Print Shop of Savannah, Georgia for the hard copy that is mailed to members. Rob van Gerwen, the ASA website editor, has taken over managing online access to the journal issues and articles. We owe both of them thanks for fulfilling these roles with excellence.
For professional and family reasons (all good things!), Henry Pratt has decided to step down as co-editor, but will cheerfully remain during the process of selecting and training a replacement. David Goldblatt will stay on. We recommend that the new editor has some familiarity with desktop publishing and, ideally, an institutionally provided license for Adobe’s Creative Suite (we use InDesign for producing the Newsletter). Henry would like to thank all the authors with whom he has worked, Secretary-Treasurers Dabney Townshend and Julie Van Camp, and, in particular, David Goldblatt for making co-editing the Newsletter such a great experience, and he encourages interested parties to apply for the position.
David Goldblatt and Henry Pratt
ASA Newsletter co-editors
ASAGE Report to the Board of Trustees - 2016
In 2016, ASAGE published the two issues of its eighth volume. We received submissions from the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan. Across these issues, we published two articles and three book reviews on a wide range of topics in aesthetics and the philosophy of art, including the restoration of artworks, the ontology of art, the appreciation of fiction, and the aesthetics of design. Of 13 submissions, we published 5 items, making the acceptance rate 38%.
Most recently, ASAGE published issue 8.2. It includes one article, "The Mental Functions of Appreciating Fiction" by Naoko Ishida (Ochanomizu University) and a review of Diane Forsey's The Aesthetics of Design by Ben Evans (The New School). The striking cover image is by Diano MacCormick.
The preparation of this issue marked a transition in the editorial team. Michel-Antoine Xhignesse served as managing editor so that Nick Curry (then book reviews editor) could shadow him, while Eric Murphy (the incoming reviews editor) shadowed Nick. Nick and Eric are now at the helm, and are seeking submissions for this winter’s Issue 9.1.
-Nick Curry (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Managing Editor, ASAGE
ASA Web site
A major priority in 2015 was shifting to a new, more sophisticated Web site. After consulting with the American Philosophical Association and checking with other clients, we signed on with YourMembership.com. We also recruited a new Web Editor (Rob van Gerwen in the Netherlands) in June 2015 (after pleading, to no avail, with Dom Lopes to continue in perpetuity as Web Editor).
The summer of 2015 was devoted to going through tutorials provided by YourMembership.com and getting the site set up. The social media ad hoc committee and a few committee chairs and editors were given access to the beta site to provide input. Setting up the site was very complicated. The Secretary-Treasurer thought it important that she be able to provide back-up on the site, in case the Web editor was not available in an emergency. In addition, the new site has many more capabilities than the old one, including extensive membership records, as well as more sophisticated e-commerce functions and member-only opportunities. The new credit card processor carries liability insurance and extra security measures and the accountable person needs to be in the United States. A division of labor was thus worked out, in which the web editor manages the red tabs on the top of the site, along with all photos (the slide shows and photo gallery) and the ST manages the e-commerce functions (memberships, donations, and meeting registrations), as well as items with immediate information needs from the Board (News, Meetings, Elections, etc.).
The new site is not cheap. The annual license for YourMembership.com is $6495, plus an extra $500 for the higher level of SSL security. But the extra capabilities justify the expense. Many compliments have come in since the site went live on August 28, 2015. We have received three complaints from senior members, mainly that the site loads too slowly and is confusing to use. But as members learn to use the capabilities, we are confident that most will come to like it.
-J. Van Camp
October 18, 2016
Social Media ad hoc Subcommittee
An ad hoc subcommittee was appointed in 2014 to work with the new Secretary-Treasurer on various social media: Gemma Arguello, Sondra Bacharach, Cynthia Freeland, Dom Lopes, and the Secretary-Treasurer.
FACEBOOK: In the past two years, we have added an official Facebook site (https://www.facebook.com/AmericanSocietyForAesthetics/), open to anyone, and a Facebook site with information about our Annual meeting, also open to anyone (https://www.facebook.com/ASAAnnualMeeting/. The two people who post on those official pages are the Secretary-Treasurer and the Facebook Manager.
We also have a Facebook-group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/7399905817/) , open to anyone, which now has 731 members; ASA membership is not required, so this has become a good way for newcomers to explore aesthetics and learn about our activities, as well as those of others in aesthetics. We do screen out persons who are seeking sites on plastic surgery and refer them to other sites. An ASA member, Gemma Arguello, had previously started an unofficial Facebook site on aesthetics; after a public recruitment, she was appointed to manage the ASA sites, with an annual honorarium of $1000. She has a two-year term and will be reviewed in the summer of 2017. When a group contacts us with a CFP for an aesthetics event, we typically post it on the CFP page of the web site, the Facebook group, and the print ASA Newsletter.
TWITTER: A Twitter account was established in early 2015, which is managed by the Secretary-Treasurer: @ASA_aesthetics. The Twitter feed appears on the home page of the web site. It is used mainly for announcements of ASA events, deadlines, grant awards, etc., with a link to a web page with more information. Several other aesthetics-related Twitter accounts regularly forward our Tweets (Aesthetics at Kent, the British Society of Aesthetics, etc.).
INSTAGRAM and YOU-TUBE: We decided against pursuing accounts with these media. In part, it was unclear how to oversee and edit these so we would be putting our best face forward. As these evolve, we will take another look at these venues.
WEB EDITOR: This committee reviewed the four applications to be Web Editor in summer of 2015 and made the final selection. It will conduct a two-year review in 2017.
-J. Van Camp
October 17, 2016
ASA Program Chair’s Report for the 2016 Annual Meeting
We received 100 paper submissions for the meeting. Of these, a few were desk rejected as unsuitable (all were submitted by an aesthetic surgery research team and addressed such matters as global aesthetic surgery statistics). One was desk rejected because it was far over the word limit. One was withdrawn.
Two members of the program committee reviewed each of the 95 remaining submissions, all of which were prepared for anonymous review. Where the reviewers’ verdicts were polarized (one very strongly in favor, one very strongly opposed) and the submission was on a traditionally marginalized topic, the submission was sent to an additional program committee member for review. There were four such submissions, and two were eventually accepted.
We accepted 51 papers for the program, for an acceptance rate of 53.7% of refereed submissions. 33 of the submissions were solely authored by women, and one had a woman co-author. Of these 34 submissions, 19 were accepted, for an acceptance rate of 55.9%. One of the 19 was later withdrawn.
We received 12 panel submissions. Of these, one was withdrawn. All program committee members reviewed the remaining submissions, and the eight submissions with the highest aggregate review scores were accepted. As in past years, panel proposals were more likely than submitted papers to address traditionally marginalized topics; the acceptance rate for panels was higher in part because we wished to ensure the inclusion of such topics on the program.
The program committee consisted of Emily Brady, Susan Feagin, John Gibson, Darren Hudson Hick, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Shen-yi Liao, Nick Riggle, Monique Roelofs, Stephanie Ross, Sandra Shapshay, Saam Trivedi and Sarah Worth. I am grateful to them for their outstanding work.
Report to Trustees from Diversity Committee, November 2016
The Diversity Committee, chaired by Anne Eaton (U. Illinois-Chicago), met on November 13 2015 at the ASA annual meeting in Savannah. Over 30 ASA members attended this meeting, where we discussed various means of promoting diversity and inclusion in the ASA. In particular the following items were addressed:
We congratulated the 2015 Curriculum Diversification Grant winners! Monique Roelofs, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Hampshire College, and Simon Fokt, a Learning Technologist at the University of Edinburgh. The Diversity Committee received strong applications from scholars (all ASA members) in the U.S., the UK, and South America, which were anonymously refereed by a committee.
We discussed various panel ideas, including:
“Black Music in Irregular Spaces” suggested by Charles Peterson. (This panel was accepted to the main program of the 2016 meeting.)
Panel on Disability and Aesthetics: Aili Bresnahan and Michael Deckard had suggested a panel last time we met (2014), and agreed to work with Sherri Irvin to propose a panel to honor Tobin Siebers. (This panel was accepted to the main program of the 2016 meeting.)
We discussed various ways of increasing diversity and inclusion at the meetings and in the Society in general, including:
A motion to provide waivers of annual meeting registration fees for first-time attendance students and faculty at Minority Serving Institutions. (Submitted to Finance Committee.)
A motion to support a prize for a paper submitted to the annual meeting for members from traditionally underrepresented groups or about a topic in aesthetics/philosophy of art pertaining to traditionally underrepresented groups. Nils-Hennes Stear is chairing the subcommittee working on this, and the proposal for this prize is still in the works.
The Diversity Committee ran the Curriculum Diversification Grant competition again in 2016. We received 5 strong applications from ASA members. The applications were anonymously refereed by a committee. The results of awardees research have been published on the ASA website and other venues (Anne Eaton is working on linking this to the APA’s page for Diversity and Inclusiveness Syllabus Collection). The following three projects were awarded grants:
Meilin Chin (Assistant Professor, Santa Clara University), Asian Aesthetics
Mariana Ortega (Professor, John Carroll University), Aesthetic Othering—The Case of Photographic Representation
Hans Maes (Senior Lecturer, Kent University, UK), The Aesthetics of Portraiture
The Diversity Committee is grateful to the Trustees for their support and welcomes questions and comments from the Trustees about the grants, the selection process, or anything else related to promoting diversity in the ASA.
2016 Report on the ASA Feminist Caucus Committee
The 25th Anniversary celebration of the Feminist Caucus Committee (FCC) was celebrated in conjunction with the annual ASA meeting that ran from November 11-14, 2015, with a full day of workshop discussions on Saturday, November 14, followed by a celebratory reception at the Desoto Hilton Hotel, Savannah, Georgia. Thanks to all the speakers who participated by presenting their research and thoughts, to the FCC working committee—Sheila Lintott, Sarah Worth, Nils Stear, Tim Gould, and particularly Carolyn Korsmeyer and Ivan Gaskell who helped organize and chair sessions—and to those who attended. We welcomed the opportunity to honor Donald Crawford, former editor of The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, who in 1990 published the first special issue of JAAC devoted to feminist scholarship in aesthetics.
A full summary of the day’s events and 3 specific presentations can be found in the ASA Newsletter 36:2 (Summer 2016) and the full program is posted on the updated FCC website at http://aesthetics-online.org/?page=feminist. Special thanks to Andrew Kania, Chair of the annual Program Committee, for the privilege of presenting a full day of workshops; and as always, a hearty thanks to President Cynthia Freeland, past President Dom Lopes, and the ASA trustees for their support. No report would be complete without heartfelt thanks to S-T Julie Van Camp for her attention to detail and efficiency in making all sessions and our annual luncheon worry-free. Thanks also for her work to assist young members of the ASA, e.g., travel funds, the Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy (in 2016, ASA representative was Anna Christina Ribeiro), the UCSD Summer Program in Philosophy for Women (in 2016, Sondra Bacharach).
Main issues that persist for the FCC within the ASA:
low numbers of female authors published in JAAC (as well as the BJA)
sharing of resources for teaching feminist aesthetics, including the persistent low number of feminist essays in textbooks, anthologies, online journals, etc.
feminist representation on the board of the Journal (as well as the BJA) and more transparency for how JAAC board members are chosen and approved for the position
New ideas are always welcome; members should consider suggestions for the three main issues discussed here, plus future improvements to the website, more sessions on gender, more women in the ASA particularly its governing boards, and more direct engagement with each other and the content of our pedagogy (for instance, in the past, it was suggested that we share syllabi online or similar to the Diversity Committee, set up our own version of the successful Diversity Grants, internally funded by the ASA).
Sheila Lintott (chair of the 2016 FCC annual meeting session on Subversive Humor) graciously accepted to serve as assistant chair of the FCC. Although no official guidelines are in place, we should establish a length of tenure (the current chair has served for 3 years) in order to insure continuity with new, fresh leadership as chair and assistant chair.
The FCC continues—both at annual meetings and throughout the year—to engage new members; our annual luncheon business meetings are typically filled to capacity (approximately 40 persons) and there continue to be over 140 names on the ASA FCC listserv.
Respectfully submitted by Peg Brand Weiser, Chair of the FCC
Conference Report for the American Society for
Aesthetics, Eastern Division Meeting 2016
The 2016 Eastern Division Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics took place on April 15-16, 2016, at the Independence Park Hotel in Philadelphia, PA.
As in past years, Temple University held its Monroe Beardsley Lecture at the time of the conference, sponsoring the lecture and the reception that followed. This year’s address, entitled “Relics, Remnants, and Scrap: In Pursuit of the Genuine,” was given by Carolyn Korsmeyer (University at Buffalo – SUNY). Here she argued that genuine things can deliver an aesthetic encounter of a distinctive sort, one that can put us in the presence of the past; and that the sense of touch is part of this experience.
The conference’s Plenary Lecture was given by Robert Hopkins (New York University), and was entitled, “Imaginative Understanding, Affective Profiles, and the Expression of Emotion in Art.” Here Hopkins defended a theory inspired by R.G. Collingwood that drew on the philosophy of mind hypothesis for which emotions and other affective states are to be treated as analogous to the sensory profiles exhibited by the things to which we affectively respond.
We received 40 paper submissions, 27 from men and 13 from women; of them, 14 submissions were from students. We accepted 18 individual papers, seven of which were from students. Of the accepted papers, 13 were from men and five from women. We also received three panel proposals and were able to accept all three. These comprised three men and six women. In addition, the invited panels comprised three women and three men. Overall, then, there were 19 men and 14 women presenting.
Paper topics covered such subjects as street art, culture, environmental aesthetics, horror, ugliness, deformity, emotional engagement, the jazz aesthetic, the ontology of art, sonic images, recordings, performances, and art history and museums. The three submitted panels were entitled Un)Disciplining Bodies: Narrative Disparities of Ideal Body Aesthetics in Art, Sport, and Culture (proposed by Lauren Alpert, and chaired by Aili Bresnahan); Conversations with Hegel about Artworks Produced after Hegel's Death (proposed by Paul Kottman); and Aesthetics of Ugliness (proposed by Lara Ostaric). In addition we had two invited panels: 1) Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Film (in collaboration with the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image), with Dirk Eitzen, Laura Di Summa-Knoop, and Paloma Atencia-Linares presenting (chaired by Charles Peterson), and 2) Portraiture, with Cynthia Freeland, Hans Maes, and Daniel J. Graham presenting (chaired by Alessandro Giovannelli).
We are grateful for the assistance of David Clowney (who provided beverages for one of the receptions and a projector), Lafayette College (which provided secretarial support, in addition to a projector and program printing), Temple University (which provided two graduate student assistants to help with registration), and Julie Van Camp, ASA Treasurer, who provided continuous assistance during the organization phase, and, at the conference’s business meeting, offered a presentation on the ASA and some of its new projects. In addition we thank Thomas Adajian, Sondra Bacharach, Christopher Bartel, Kristin Boyce, Douglas Berger, John Carvalho, David Clowney, Brandon Cooke, Eva Dadlez, Elisabeth Schellekens Dammann, David Davies, Michael Deckard, Anne Eaton, Richard Eldridge, Susan Feagin, Ivan Gaskell, Timothy Gould, John Kulvicki, Samantha Matherne, Ronald Moore, Jonathan Neufeld, Anna Christina Ribeiro, Nicholas Riggle, Jenefer Robinson, Monique Roelofs, James Shelley, and Julie Van Camp for serving on this year’s Review Committee. Many of the above-mentioned individuals also served as commentators on papers.
Finally, we are pleased to announce the ASA Eastern Division organizers for 2017, who will be Alessandro Giovannelli (Lafayette College) and Brandon Cooke (Minnesota State University, Mankato). The meeting will take place on April 28-29, 2017, at the Independence Park Hotel in Philadelphia.
Aili Bresnahan and Alessandro Giovannelli
Conference Report for the 2016 Pacific Division Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics
Asilomar Conference Grounds
Pacific Grove, California
April 6-8, 2016
Bill Seeley (University of New Hampshire and Bates College)
Olivier Matthieu (University of New Mexico)
The 2016 Eastern Division Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics took place on April 6-8, 2016, at at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California. I believe that this was the 41st year that the meeting has been held at Asilomar (the ASA archives show 1975 as the first year the Division met there). Asilomar, as many of us are familiar, provides a rustic, intimate setting that fosters collaboration among members of the society across different cohorts with a wide variety of research interests. These are essential qualities of what Olivier and I interpreted as a tacit mission statement for the Pacific Division: to foster community within the American Society of Aesthetics among the diverse array of our members at different stages in their careers.
There has been a great deal of discussion within recent years about the venue. The central concern is the cost. The central question of these debates is whether the benefits of meeting at Asilomar offset the cost to our participants. Asilomar is not located in a big city. This adds substantially to the travel costs and time spent getting to and from the conference. But most importantly, the cost to the Division is substantial. The fees charged by Asilomar are challenging for organizations like the regional divisions of the ASA. These factors are likely contributors to the fact that registrations, and as a result funds available, have been down in recent years. Olivier and I took on the roles of co-chairs for the Division with a clear understanding of these challenges. Our hope was that we could manage to increase attendance and energize a new cohort of younger members of the ASA to embrace Asilomar as a venue for the conference. We did succeed in increasing attendance for the conference and increasing the budget rollover available for conference planning for the 2017 meeting. However, we did so in part by increasing the number of participants on the conference program. It is question for future discussion whether this is the right strategy for a conference like the Pacific Division meeting.
We should mention that, even with increased attendance, the fee structure for the meeting had to be adjusted to meet our budgetary challenges. This has been a continuing trend for registration fees over the past several years. This trend has required a shift in the expectations of the members of the Division. Olivier and I felt that the change in fee structure was not unreasonable. However, the full range of these issues should be a point for discussion going forward. There are clear arguments in favor of Asilomar as a venue for this meeting. The long standing tradition of a close, intimate meeting that fosters community among philosophers with different research interests at different stages in their careers exemplifies the spirit of our discipline. The question remains whether Asilomar is an essential element of this mission.
We received 47 paper submissions. 21 of these submissions were from women and 15 were from graduate students. We accepted 24 individual papers. Among those papers, 8 were presented as part of three panels, 6 were graduate student submissions, and 9 were submitted by women. We had 42 participants on the program of which 17 were women.
Topics covered ranged from Everyday Computer Aesthetics, Embodied Cognition and Baseball, and the Ethics of Sports to Philosophy of Literature, Ontology of Art, Conceptual Art, and Musical Expression. Highlights from the program included a panel Everyday Computer Aesthetics: Computer Games: Towards an Aesthetics of Constraint organized by Thi Nguyen (Utah Valley University), a paper on musical expression presented by Jerry Levinson, Music‐Specific Emotion: An Elusive Quarry (University of Maryland) with comments by Margaret Moore (University of Tennessee). A paper presented by Alva Noë on embodied cognition and art, Keeping Score in baseball with comments by Eleanor Helms (CalPloy State University, San Louis Obispo), a paper on the ethics of sports presented by Peg Brand (Indiana University, Purdue) and Ed Weiser, Misleading Aesthetic Norms of Beauty: Perceptual Sexism in Elite Women Sports, with comments by Jennifer Judkins (UCLA), and a panel organized by Sherri Irvin, On Conceptual and Contemporary art; Ontology, Appreciation, Understanding. Elisabeth Shellekens provided commentary for this panel which included a discussion of the contributions that Peter Goldie made to the philosophical study of conceptual art.
We also continued what we hope will be a growing tradition. We used $2000 made available by the ASA for program development to invite 3 speakers for a panel on a contemporary interdisciplinary issue in a novel domain that is stretching the boundaries of our discipline. This year we invited James Cutting from Psychology Department at Cornell University to speak about the psychology and neuroscience of film, Amy Coplan from the Philosophy Department at CalState-Fullerton to speak about the philosophy and cognitive science of film, and Robert Sinnerbrink from the Philosophy Department at Macquarie University to comment on this growing field of research from a Film Studies perspective. We used the funds we received from the ASA to help with travel and lodging for the invited speakers.
Finally, we are pleased to announce the Pacific Division meeting organizers for 2017, who will be Olivier Matthieu (University of New Mexico) and Margaret Moore (University of Tennessee). The meeting will take place on April 5-7, 2017, at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California. The Pacific ASA plans to experiment with a new format this coming year. The 2017 program co-chairs have elected to publish papers in advance and limit presentation time to 10 minutes. This decision reflects discussion at the 2016 Pacific Division business meeting and the advice of senior members of the Division. The hope is the format will encourage thoughtful conversation and further foster the kind of close community that has come to define the the Pacific Division meeting.
Bill Seeley and Olivier Matthieu