March 31 – April 2, 1999, Pacific Grove, California
The ASA Pacific meeting has long attracted participants from around the country, welcomed by the historic setting on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, the mild climate, and the informal camaraderie. The 1999 meeting was notable for an unusually large international contingent as well. Of the 62 scholars on the program, seven were from Great Britain, three from Canada, two from Slovenia, and others from New Zealand and from Japan.
The meeting also was rich in diversity of academic disciplines. Along with philosophy of art, presenters came from English, Comparative Literature, Architecture, Dance, Film Studies, Communications, Music, and Studio Art. Also in attendance were the editors of the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, the British Journal of Aesthetics, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, the president and executive director of the ASA, and several Trustees.
A new feature of the meeting was a panel of graduate student papers, by six promising young aestheticians. The session offered an introduction of their work to the ASA membership and welcomed the students to the important function of ASA meetings as a way to meet colleagues and share their work.
Special efforts were made to attract student visitors, especially from nearby schools in the bay area, with a reduced student rate, thematic programs encouraging one-day visits, and extensive mailings to area schools. Although results from these efforts were not as successful as hoped, the Division remains eager to welcome new participants at the meeting and to the Society.
The meeting also introduced several technological innovations. For the first time, the program and detailed conference information were available on the world wide web, making it easier for interested persons to quickly learn about the program and logistical arrangements and also helping the Division reduce postage and printing expenses. Submitted papers were accepted as email attachments, making it easier and cheaper to send in submissions from around the world. On-line registration on a secure server was available through the national ASA web site, accepting major credit cards.
Although extensive use of the web and email helped keep costs under control, the Division recognizes that a few potential participants do not have access to the internet. It was decided at the business meeting that the summer and fall print ASA Newsletter would be the primary print publicity for future meetings, to ensure that all persons interested in submitting papers and attending the meeting have adequate notice of dates and deadlines. Special mailings to publicize the Pacific Meeting to all ASA members have become prohibitively expensive.
A long-standing tradition of the Pacific Division is preparation of print Proceedings, continued this year, to encourage presenters to make the best use of time at the meeting for dialogue. Due to uncertainty regarding the impact on future publication, papers were not posted on the web site, although abstracts and the complete program were placed on-line and have been left on the web as a record of the meeting: <http://www.csulb.edu/~philos/asilomar.html>. (A few extra copies of the print Proceedings are available for sale to ASA members. For more information, please contact <email@example.com>.)
Highlights of the meeting included three author-meets-critic sessions on new books by feminist dance historian Sally Banes, comparative literature scholar Anthony Cascardi, and philosopher of music Stan Godlovitch. A special treat was the illustrated presentation on the architectural history of the Asilomar Conference Grounds by architect Russell Quacchia and philosopher William H. Hayes. Other sessions mirrored the diversity of current interests in aesthetics, including the relationship of aesthetics and ethics, the ontology of art, art and politics, film, music, dance, everyday aesthetics, and aesthetic education.
The Division has named conference coordinators and program chairs for the next two years: Flo Leibowitz, Oregon State University, for 2000, and Dom Lopes, Indiana University Kokomo, for 2001. The 2000 meeting dates are set for March 29-31, 2000, with a December 1, 1999 deadline for paper submissions.
Julie Van Camp