The executive editors are pleased to launch the fourth issue of Panorama, the first and only peer-reviewed, open-access, electronic publication dedicated to American art and visual culture (broadly defined) from the fifteenth century to the present day. Panorama was founded with the hope that it would become a venue for innovative scholarship and timely conversation within the field. To this end, the journal’s three preceding issues featured full-length research essays, book and exhibition reviews, Bully Pulpit roundtables on art history’s place in the academy; on connoisseurship; and, most recently, on pedagogy, a conversation inspired by Jules Prown’s ruminations on his long and influential teaching career at Yale. In the last issue, we also launched a new feature dedicated to the expeditious publication of papers delivered at recent professional meetings. In this issue, we offer a second installment of that feature as well as a continuation of our exciting new section on current research projects.
The issue begins with the Bully Pulpit, this time a novel roundtable—perhaps the first in the annals of American art history—devoted to sheer fantasy, or, at least, wishful thinking. We invited contributors Diane Harris, Leo Mazow, Kenneth Haltman, and Shawn Michelle Smith to ruminate, freely and frankly, on the projects they would love to do, “if only.” A special feature, guest-edited by Robert Cozzolino, highlights the second AHAA-sponsored 2016 CAA session, “Claiming the Unknown, the Forgotten, the Lost, and the Dispossessed.” Comprising essays by Sarah Beetham, Susan Greenberg Fisher, Jessica Marten, and M. Melissa Wolfe, this absorbing section examines the manifold challenges scholars grapple with in approaching subjects that have been marginalized by or outright expelled from the canon, and it surveys the innovative strategies that academics and museum curators have adopted in the attempt to reintegrate and revalidate them. This issue’s Research Notes section incorporates two short essays by Barbara Jaffee and Amy Werbel, the one on what may have been the first attempt (in 1948) to write a rigorously global history of art, and the other concerning an epiphany on the relationship between censorship and culture inspired by the chance discovery of some racy cigar-box labels at the Winterthur Library. Finally, in yet another venture into new formats, we are pleased to publish Michaela Haffner’s blog-style report on the AHAA Biennial Symposium in Fort Worth, Texas (October 2016). The symposium—AHAA’s fourth—was a great success, with its roster of stimulating panels, congenial group of attendees, and remarkable venue in the midst of several wonderful museums. Our blogger’s report, along with Ellery Foutch’s photographs, re-presents the experience in all its freshness and excitement.
On a more sober note, the entirety of this issue went to press in the weeks before the presidential election on November 8. We know the results of that election have left much of our readership feeling confused, concerned, and alert to questions about our public responsibility as scholars — an issue that is certainly not new in the field of American art and visual/material culture, but one that takes on new pointedness now. We are discussing ways to be ever more responsive to contemporary debates as they inform our many professional and intellectual practices, including modeling new modes of collective scholarship and public engagement. As with all areas of the journal, we welcome your input. Please direct emails to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: “Election Response”).
Literally uncountable hours of work by Panorama staff, contributors, and AHAA members once again went into the production of this issue. The editors remain deeply grateful for these efforts and the support of our readers. As ever, we invite your input and contributions.
The Executive Editors
Ross Barrett, Assistant Professor, Boston University
Sarah Burns, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University
Jennifer Jane Marshall, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota
Alan Wallach, Professor Emeritus, College of William and Mary