Iona College in New Rochelle, NY hosted the Eastern Division of the ASA which met April 16-18, 1998. The program had a mix of concurrent sessions, panel sessions, and single sessions. Particularly successful were the informal panel discussions. On Friday, Garry Hagberg (Bard) led off with “Aesthetics of Jazz Improvisation.” Accompanying Garry were Lee Brown (Ohio State), William Day (LeMoyne) and Casey Hawkins (SUNY Purchase). The discussion was lively and generated tremendous enthusiasm and interest as evinced by the feeling that we needed much more time. The panel was composed of musicians and numerous members of the
audience were musicians.
Saturday morning opened with another panel session on the connections and conflicts between the life of theory and the life of production. Each member of the panel, which was proposed and moderated by Don Keefer, was both a philosopher and a practicing artist. Kevin Melchionne (Smithsonian Institute) and cornelia Tsakiridou (LaSalle) shared slides of their breath-taking work with the group. Cellist Carol Gould found a complimentary fit between the philosophical life and the musical/artistic life. Cheryl Foster (URI), who writes fiction, cautioned us on the disconnections and conflicts between the career of philosophy and the creative life. She shared with the audience the generous and beautifully crafted response she received from William Gass, the noted writer and philosopher at Washington University, when she querried him on the subject. These informal panel discussions were singularly successful. They begged for a longer fomat.
Saturday morning also included a presentation of some pedagogic avenues that those of us who each philosphy of
art have not likely explored. Sarah Fowler (North Central College) gave apresentation on teaching aesthetics using the world wide web. A web-page designer herself, she showed us how the problems of aesthetics could be explored and interrogated creatively and applicatively in the new medium. Hilde Hein (Holy Cross) shared with us her observations on the role of the museum in more formal educational settings.
In our concurrent offerings, we had papers that ranged from the experience of art, beauty (John Brown, UM), and beyond (Monique Roelofs, Bryant), including spirituality (Scott Holland) and cultural theory (Melchionne) to the aesthetics of dance (Aaron Meskin, Rutgers) and social activism (Gordon Bearn, Lehigh). In addition to these sessions, there were two singly offered sessions, “Perspectives on Postmodern Perspectives,” and “…Looks at the Artists.” The latter session, playing off the title of the popular aesthetics anthology, Philosophy Looks at the Arts,” included papers on Norman Rockwell Picasso, and Mark Tansey, by Richard Martin (The Costume Institute), Ira Newman (Mansfield) and Deborah Fitzgerald (Furman). In the postmodernly reflexive and redundantly titled session on postmodernism, Greg Taylor (SUNY Purchase) and Jenny Mason (Leeds) gave papers on film and photography, respectively.
Chris Perricone handled the local arrangement at Iona, with help from other members of the Department of Philosophy at Iona. The Program Committee was chaired this year by Elizabeth Ann Dobie at Alfred University. David Fisher (North Central College) was the head of the Steering Committee. Don Keefer (RISD), having served as co-chair last year, stayed on the Program Committee to help smooth the new program chair’s work. He was joined by Carol Gould (Florida Atlantic) and John Carvalho (Villanova).