22 April 2012
The conference was sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium and the American Society for Aesthetics. Five papers were accepted from twenty-five submissions: presenters included Andrea Baldini (Temple), Nick Oschman (Marquette), Chris Drain (Villanova), Nils-Hennes Stear (Michigan), and Simon Fokt (St. Andrews). Topics ranged from Levinas on environmental aesthetics to Kantian aesthetics to the cluster account of art. The commentators were Hetty Blades (King’s College London), John Carvalho (Villanova), Kristin Gjesdal (Temple), Margaret Moore (Leeds), and David Clowney (Rowan). Many of the commentators are faculty members, and provided insightful critiques from an experienced point of view. Sherri Irvin (Oklahoma) delivered the keynote lecture, an exciting paper entitled “Sexy Subjects and Sex Objects: A Critique of Sexiness.”
Each graduate student paper was well-received, due in part to the fact that submissions for the conference went through a careful blind-review process of two to three referees each. Each referee was an experienced philosopher with a good deal of familiarity in the subdiscipline of the paper they were reviewing; the list of referees was an impressive list of many familiar names in aesthetics and philosophy of art.
Attendance was fairly good. Aside from the eleven names mentioned above, there were over thirty attendees throughout the duration of the conference; some individuals from the ASA Eastern Division conference were able to stay for the graduate conference. In addition, the tone of the conference was friendly and positive.
The main goal of the graduate conference was to foster and encourage graduate work in aesthetics. There were multiple ways that the conference realized this goal: (a) through encouraging presenters to continue their work in aesthetics, (b) through providing commentary on the presenters’ work from experienced philosophers at the conference, (c) through the interaction between graduate students working in aesthetics that this conference facilitates, and (d) through the keynote lecture. Given its success, it is anticipated that this conference will become a yearly event.
The organizer would like to thank Temple graduate students for their willingness to serve as session chairs. Many thanks are also due to Susan Feagin, who provided a great deal of advice and assistance in the organization of the conference.