• Amelia Rauser
Professor of Art History and Interim Director of the Faculty Center



Office: HUE24


After spending Spring 2019 in Kochi, India, teaching at St Teresa's College as a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Senior Scholar, I am back in residence at Franklin & Marshall College in 2019-20.

My book, The Age of Undress: Art, Fashion, and the Classical Ideal in the 1790s, will be published by Yale University Press in March, 2020. An exhibition I have co-curated with Dr. Laura Engel, Artful Nature: Fashion and Theatricality, will open at the Lewis Walpole Library (Yale University) in February 2020. 

I am also the current president of the Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture (HECAA); check out our organization's wonderful blog, Enfilade. Here's a Huffington Post article about my team-developed humanities course for first-year students on "the examined life." My most recent scholarly essay, "Vitalist Statues and the Belly Pad of 1793," appeared in the innovative online journal Journal18. To download my CV and publications or to follow my work, please visit my page at academia.edu.


I'm a specialist in 18th-century European visual culture, especially in Great Britain, with a growing interest in the global textile trade. My first book examined the origins of political caricature; my current research project centers on the history of fashion. My new book, The Age of Undress, is a study of the radical neoclassical fashion of the 1790s and its connection to contemporary aesthetic, political, and scientific thought.

My research has been featured in recent editions of the popular history websites Atlas Obscura, on the real meaning of the "Yankee Doodle" song, and History Buffs, on the "fashion" for tuberculosis. 

A major essay derived from this new project appeared in the journal Art History: "Living Statues and Neoclassical Dress in Late Eighteeth-Century Naples" (vol. 38, no. 3, June 2015, pp. 462-487 ). 

I've also recently published and spoken on the 18th century caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson, and was interviewed about caricature in this post.

In 2011, my students and I curated an exhibition at the Lancaster Quilt & Textile Museum titled "The Grid:  ESPRIT, Amish Quilts, and Postmodern Design." 


The Age of Undress: Art, Fashion, and the Classical Ideal in the 1790s (Yale University Press, 2020).

Publications relating to my current project include:

  • "Vitalist Statues and the Belly Pad of 1793," Journal18: A Journal of Eighteenth-Century Art and Culture, no. 3, 2017.
  • “Thomas Lawrence’s Consumptive Chic: Reinterpreting Lady Manners’ Hectic Flush in 1794,” co-authored with Dr. Carolyn Day,  Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 49 no. 6, 2016: 455-474.
  • “Living Statues and Neoclassical Dress in Late Eighteenth-Century Naples,” Art History, vol. 38 no. 3, 2015: 462-487. 
  • “From the Studio to the Street: Modeling Neoclassical Dress,” in Justine De Young, ed., Fashion in European Art: Dress and Identity, Politics and the Body, 1775-1975, London and New York: I.B. Tauris (forthcoming, 2017).

My book, Caricature Unmasked: Irony, Authenticity, and Individualism in Eighteenth-Century English Prints, was published by the University of Delaware Press in 2008.  

Other recent publications include:

  •  “The Tyranny of the Bodily in Rowlandson’s Art.” Jay Clarke, ed., Landscape, Innovation, and Nostalga: The Manton Collection of British Art at the Clark Art Institute. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012.
  • “Amoral Humor: Desire and Mockery in Rowlandson’s Comic Art,”  Thomas Rowlandson: Pleasures and Pursuits in Georgian England.  London: Giles, 2011.


Grants & Awards

Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award, India, 2018-2019. 

NEH “Enduring Questions” Grant, 2014. With co-applicants Professors Lee Franklin, Misty Bastian, and Stephen Cooper. $50,000 to support development of a new Connections 1 course for first-year students called “What is the Examined Life?”  11% of proposals funded in 2014.

NEH Summer Stipend Award, 2012. $6000 for travel and research in support of book project. 8.5% of proposals funded in 2012.


 I received my BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and my MA and PhD from Northwestern University.


Recent presentations and invited lectures:


"Neoclassical Dress and Imperial Cotton," American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Annual Meeting. March 30-April 1, 2017

" Fashion as Material Multiple: Colonial Cotton and the Neoclassical Dress," at Nomadic Objects: Material Circulations, Appropriations, and the Formation of Identities in the Early Modern Period, 1500-1800, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle—Paris 3.  March 2-4, 2017

"Satanic Mills, Indian Muslin, and the Materiality of Neoclassical Dress in the 1790s," College Art Association (CAA). February 17, 2017

"Whiteness: Modern Galateas," American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Annual Meeting. April 2, 2016.

"Venuses in Prison and Colony: Abjection and Neoclassical Fashion in the 1790s," Invited lecture, Duquesne University. March 29, 2016.

"Rock, Paper, Scissors: Dimensionality and Neoclassical Aesthetics in the Art and Fashion of the 1790s," Invited lecture, Yale University. October 28, 2015.

"Lady Charlotte Campbell and the Belly Pad of 1793," at Disseminating Dress: Britain and the Fashion World, University of York, UK. May 28-30, 2015. 

"Embodied Cognition: Vitalism and Neoclassical Fashion," Unfolding the Enlightenment.  College Art Association Meeting (CAA). February 11-14, 2015. 

"What are they wearing?!? Fashion and Identity in British Portraits," Invited lecture, Portland Museum of Art. October 9, 2014.

"Marble, Muslin, Ivory," American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Annual Meeting. March 20-23, 2014.

"Pregnant or Statuesque? The Pad Fad of 1793," American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Annual Meeting, April 4-6, 2013.

"White Muslin: Veiling the Body in the 1790s," Invited lecture at Ithaca College, March 7, 2013.

"Performing Antiquity: Emma Hamilton’s ‘Attitudes’ and the Fragments of Herculaneum and Pompeii," American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Annual Meeting, March 22-25, 2012.

"Ribald Antiquity: Bodies, Statues, and the Lust for Classicism in Rowlandson’s Art," Block Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. March 2, 2011.

"Neoclassical Fashion in Art and Life in the 1790s," College Art Association Meeting (CAA), New York City. February 9-12, 2011.

"Attitudes: Living Antiquity in 1790s Naples," Art Institute of Chicago. October 23, 2010.


Courses Taught

CNX100: What is the Examined Life?

ART 103: Learning to See: Art's Histories

ART 241: 18th and 19th Century European Art

ART 251: The Twentieth Century: Art, Fashion, Design

ART 271: The History of Fashionable Dress

ART 273: Art & Democracy

ART 371: London and Paris, 1848-1900

Special topics seminars have recently included "The Grid: Amish Quilts" and "Exhibiting Fashion: Modern Dress circa 1800"