PAST Journal

Volume 32, 2009

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Echoes of the Past

Welcome to the new PAST! To say that there have been some changes may be a bit of an understatement; as no doubt you have noticed, PAST is now exclusively an online journal. Admittedly, the PAS:APAL Board of Directors made this move in part to save money. The elimination of a print edition of PAST eventually will eradicate the long-running budget deficits that have forced the organization to tap into its modest endowment, which—at least in 2008 and early 2009—was shrinking due to problems associated with the international economic crisis. Yet I also view the move in terms of the possibilities that online publishing presents to us. For example, we can now feature color photographs—and more of them; publish longer articles (and, consequently, larger issues of PAST); link to other web sites from within the journal; and make it easier to search issues.

This volume of PAST is the largest ever published: ten articles presented at the Baton Rouge meeting in 2008, thirty book reviews, and two On the Road features. Seven of the articles come from two paper sessions, both organized by Allen Noble, on material culture studies in various disciplines, while the remaining three offer case studies that nicely illustrate some of the concepts that Noble and others covered in their papers. In particular, pay close attention to the scholars cited by these authors, and you will find that several names come up again and again, regardless of the author’s departmental affiliation.

We also continue to publish book reviews in PAST in an effort to alleviate the backlog or reviews that we amassed for Material Culture over the last few years. Thankfully, with the publication of the reviews in this issue, the backlog is nearly eliminated, meaning future issues of PAST may not include reviews. (Then again, I also made that promise in 2006, so please don’t hold me to it.)

At any rate, enjoy the issue, and I hope to see you in West Virginia in 2009.

Scott Roper