The annual meeting of the Pacific Division of the ASA was held 15-17 April 2009, at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California. The weather was brisk and the fireplace in the meeting room much appreciated. Proceedings were made available electronically rather than mailed out, saving on both paper and postage. At the business meeting, the membership voted to create a new student registration fee of $10 to encourage undergraduate and graduate students to attend. The registration fee for others will rise slightly, from $90 to $100, for the first time in some years.
The program included 13 papers (chosen from 45 submissions) and 4 author-meets-critics sessions. There were 47 people on the program, including chairs and commentators, and 61 total registrants. As usual, the topics of discussion ranged widely, from the aesthetics of pregnancy and childbirth (Sheila Lintott) to the usefulness, or lack thereof, of higher-order ontologies of music (Lee Brown).
The program kicked off Wednesday afternoon with three papers on fiction by Eva Dadlez, Amy Kind and Cathleen Muller, winner of the Graduate Student Essay Award for her outstanding paper “Reply to Everett’s ‘Against Fictional Realism.’” Next up was an author-meets-critics session on Paul Woodruff’s The Necessity of Theater, with Noël Carroll, David Davies and Paul Thom serving as critics.
Thursday was action-packed, beginning with a panel on music (papers by Lee Brown and John Fisher) followed by a double author-meets-critics session on Charles O. Nussbaum’s The Musical Representation: Meaning, Ontology, and Emotion (with Kathleen Higgins as critic) and Aniruddh D. Patel’s Music, Language, and the Brain (with Stephen Davies as critic). After lunch there was a panel on literary matters (papers by Michael Gettings and Peter Goldie) and another on the relationship between aesthetics and ethics (papers by Gregory Currie and Jenn Neilson). The afternoon ended with an author-meets-critics panel on Tom Wartenberg’s Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy, with critics Amy Coplan, Bruce Russell and George Wilson.
The meeting closed Friday morning with papers on matters related to images (Ben Blumson and Flo Leibowitz) and aesthetic experience (Tom Leddy and Sheila Lintott).
The meeting was greatly enhanced by excellent commentaries delivered by Peter Alward, Ben Caplan, Renee Conroy, John Gibson, Jillian Isenberg, Jo Ellen Jacobs, Peter Kivy, Carl Matheson, Derek Matravers, Andrew McGonigal, Taffy Ross, Marcelo Sabatés and Reed Winegar. I am grateful to session chairs Zed Adams, Emily Brady, Don Crawford, Nick Diehl, Rick Fox, Justin London, Dom Lopes, James Mock and Rita Risser for helping to keep things running smoothly and on time.
For general advice and assistance, I am grateful to past program chairs Jim Hamilton, Sheila Lintott, Aaron Meskin, David Osipovich and, especially, my immediate predecessor, Dustin Stokes; ASA Secretary-Treasurer Dabney Townsend; and web maestro extraordinaire Dom Lopes. A warm thanks to Amy Coplan and Tom Leddy for supplying equipment that allowed us to have a proper aesthetics meeting with pictures and sounds and things. Russ Quacchia provided helpful binders with information about local eateries and attractions.
For their service as referees on a very tight timeline, I am grateful to Catharine Abell, Tom Adajian, Phil Alperson, Lee Brown, Diarmuid Costello, Gregory Currie, David Davies, Stephen Davies, Tobyn De Marco, Eileen John, Emily Brady, David Goldblatt, Ted Gracyk, James Harold, Andrew Kania, John Kulvicki, Paisley Livingston, Dom Lopes, Derek Matravers, Aaron Meskin, Alex Neill, Glenn Parsons, Taffy Ross, Crispin Sartwell, Bob Stecker, Dustin Stokes, Amie Thomasson and Saam Trivedi.
For the 2010 meeting, I pass the torch to David Davies. The 2011 meeting will be co-chaired by Amy Coplan and Tobyn De Marco.