AAR and the University of Michigan Press have just released volume 66 of the Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome. It is the second born-digital issue of the publication, as well as the second to be open access and freely available to read on JSTOR. The new volume is the first to be edited by Margaret Laird, adjunct associate professor of Latin and classics at the University of Delaware and a 2000 Rome Prize Fellow in classical studies and archaeology. Sinclair Bell also edited portions of volume 66.
Since 1915, the Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome has published articles on topics including Roman archaeology and topography, ancient and modern Italian history, Latin literature, and Italian art and architectural history. Six scholars contribute to the issue: Cynthia J. Bannon (Indiana University, Bloomington), Fabio Barry (Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art), Rubén Montoya González (Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome), Massimiliano Vitiello (University of Missouri, Kansas City), Katherine Rinne (University of Virginia), and Kimberly Cassibry (Wellesley College). Volume 66 also features reports from the 2021 humanities Fellows about their research in Rome.
Laird’s preface outlines a history of the publication, which for decades was largely focused on antiquity and published monographs on excavations and conferences sponsored by the Academy. Since the seventies, she notes, the journal began to consider periods from medieval to modern in myriad disciplines: the history of art and architecture, Italian cultural and historical studies, law, economic and political policy, literature, musicology, and more. In the coming years, Laird seeks scholarship addressing architectural history, theories of display, and ethics in cultural property, museum, and collecting.
In Laird’s eyes, the journal has become “a forum for scholars who share a passion for the study of the art, history, and culture of Italy, not just those few who may reside or work at the AAR, use the Library, or attend lectures or conferences…. Like lunches in the Academy’s cortile, I hope that the Memoirs will provide a buffet of scholarly food for thought and a place that fosters cross-disciplinary dialogue and sparks intellectual creativity.”