The Rocky Mountain Division held its 27th annual meeting in the newly remodeled Hotel St. Francis in downtown Santa Fe. Registration opened at 8:00 on Friday, 9 July, with the first sessions starting at 9:00 after opening remarks at 8:45. The business meeting started at 11:30 Sunday, 11 July, after the final sessions ended at 11:30. As always, the weather was splendid, and the Saturday evening reception a grand event. The only worrisome observation is the dropping away of those whose papers were accepted but whose travel funds were cut at the last moment. This arose as a concern last year, and there has been no improvement in the situation. If anything, the funding issue is worsening. We had twenty-nine papers presented last year, and only eighteen this year. In both years, many more papers were accepted, and many, many more authors were scheduled to appear. Our division is not unique in any of this, and it is something for almost all program chairs to fret about.
Division President Linda Dove has been overseeing not only the conference program, but also the ongoing investigation of possible replacement conference venues. The hotel charges have risen, and with the sinking of travel funds impacting the budget, costs are a concern. This issue was discussed at the business meeting, and a search committee formed to aid president Dove in the quest for the best possible location at the lowest possible cost. It was agreed that an increase in the registration fee should be considered, but also agreed that any increase should be quite modest.
The eighteen presentations nicely accorded with the long-standing interdisciplinary focus of the Rocky Mountain Division. The program panels were: Definitions and Cosmologies (SK. Wertz, “Tao Chi’s Theory of Painting: Chinese Cosmic Landscapes,” and Erman Kaplama, “Cosmological Aesthetics through the Kantian Sublime and Nietzschean Dionysian”); Literary Aesthetics (Francis Downing, “The Edge of a Novel,” John Samson, “The Bearable Lightness of Being: Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor,” and George Moore, “Rage for Order: Fascist Politics and Modernist Aesthetics”); The Representation of Environment/Native Cultures (Allison Hagerman, “An Uncanny Nature: Taking a Side Road to Aesthetic Appreciation of Environment,” Roger Paden, “A New Aesthetics of Nature and the Absence of the Sublime,” and David Conter, “Cowboy Art, Indian Art, Romanticism, Nostalgia, Truth”); Time Passages (Michael Manson and Scott Stewart, “Stranger in a New World; J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace,” and Patrick McKee, “Old Age Style and the Sublime Landscape”); Aesthetics and Ethics (Lawrence Rhu, “Emersonian Affinities: Reading Richard Ford through Stanley Cavell,” and Norman Fischer, “Georg Lukacs’s Hegelian Marxism and Scott’s Novels of Knighthood and Pre-Modern Clans”); On Music, Nature, and Art (Rudolf Brun, “Simlexity in Music and Nature,” and Karen Hillier, “I Remember”); Aesthetics and the Visual (Raphael Sassower, “Visual Literacy as Activism,” Cornelia Tsakiridou, “Enargeia; The Living Image in Icons and in Some Photographs by Sebastiao Salgado,” and Flo Leibowitz, “The Hubble Photographs as Aesthetic Objects”).
Abstracts of the papers are available on the division’s website: . The posting of abstracts is a new feature of the division website, and has been the work of Elizabeth Graham, division treasurer.
The session chairs, as always, managed the timing of presentations and discussions with uniform excellence. Thanks are offered to the chairs: Linda Dove, Michael Mason, Cornelia Tsakiridou, Allison Hagerman, Elizabeth Graham, S.K. Wertz, John Samson, and George Moore. The Friday afternoon Manuel Davenport Keynote Address, “Unity as Natural, Reason as Divine: The Beauty of Systems in Seventeenth-Century Natural Philosophy,” was presented by Mary Domski, Department of Philosophy, University of New Mexico. The Saturday afternoon Artist at Work presentation, “Imperfection’s Gift: Embroidered Hair, Text Dust and Navels,” was by Elizabeth Dove, Department of Art, University of Montana.