Call for Articles | Fall 2021 Issue of J18: The ‘Long’ 18th Century?

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on June 25, 2020

From J18:

Journal18, Issue #12 (Fall 2021) — The ‘Long’ 18th Century?
Issue edited by Sarah Betzer and Dipti Khera

Proposals due by 15 August 2020; finished articles will be due by 15 April 2021

This issue takes off from the ubiquity of the phrase ‘the long eighteenth century’. Proliferating in calls for participation and panel descriptions—not to mention its prominent position in the description of this journal—if the mark of an elongated eighteenth century is inescapable, we propose that this terminology merits further scrutiny. What is meant by the ‘long’ eighteenth century? From which vantage points, and for whom, is it long? And to what ends has this elongation been directed?

It is our contention that we must understand the rise of a ‘long’ eighteenth century alongside the significant transformation of art historical inquiry into expanded geographical and cultural terrains. Since 2003, the study of eighteenth-century art has been enriched by a new commitment to ‘worlding’, even if decolonizing art histories remains an ongoing and incomplete project. As a result, habitual chronological slices, whether defined by European political history or by European stylistic shifts (e.g., Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical), have been ripe for reconsideration as scholars have asked new questions about the transmission and sedimentation of practices, experiences, and art objects around the world. When the focus on histories of colonialism and slavery forces us to look anew at the bodies, lands, and knowledge presented in art, how do our narratives change and how do the sites and objects of our inquiry shift? What are the implications of this broadened scope of inquiry for habits of locution and the habits of mind that underwrite them? While the habitual slicing up of Britain’s eighteenth century to 1688–1815 is not that far out of alignment with France’s 1643–1815, it looks very different from the perspective of, for instance, South Asia, where an end point has tended rather to be located in the 1830s. What impact, if any, has a ‘worlding’ of art history had upon our thinking about the relative length or shortness, narrowness or breadth, of the eighteenth century? What conceptually binds an eighteenth century once we have taken up the project of tracking the entanglements of art, commerce, and empire across worlds? For whom is the eighteenth century long, from what vantage points, whether local, regional, or transregional, and to what ends? And what relationship does this designation have to the equally omnipresent ‘long’ nineteenth century, as well as to accounts of the Enlightenment, its seductions, and its repercussions?

We invite contributions that reflect upon a ‘long’ and ‘broad’ eighteenth century—its contours, analytic possibilities, and limits. We particularly welcome submissions that explore new models for tracking intellectual and artistic through-lines and inheritances, and that spur us to rethink periodization, or stylistic terminology that has been too often limited in its utility by being yoked to the goal of a successional narrative telos. Authors are encouraged to explore this wide-angle view by way of one term, one object, one phenomenon, or one margin. We welcome interventions that originate in art history or in other allied humanistic disciplines.

Issue Editors
Sarah Betzer, University of Virginia
Dipti Khera, New York University

To submit a proposal, send an abstract of 250 words (or 500 words for multi-authored proposals) and a brief biography to editor@journal18.org and sbetzer@virginia.edu by 15 August 2020. Accepted articles should not exceed 6000 words (including footnotes) and will be due on 15 April 2021. For further details, see Information for Authors.

Accepted authors will be invited to participate in a session convened for the College Art Association annual conference in New York City in February 2021 for presentation and collaborative workshopping of their contributions. Remote participation will be welcomed.