• Amelia Rauser
Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty and Charles A. Dana Professor of Art History



Office: Old Main 114


I am currently serving as Charles A. Dana Distinguished Professor of Art History and Senior  Associate Dean of the Faculty at Franklin & Marshall College, having concluded a short stint as Interim Director of the Faculty Center during the historic pivot to online learning in response to COVID-19.

My book, The Age of Undress: Art, Fashion, and the Classical Ideal in the 1790s, was published in March, 2020. Please take a look at my online lecture related to the book, "Black Bodies and Neoclassical Whiteness in the Age of Undress," given for the Lewis Walpole Library in June 2020. Here's a short, accessible essay on madras cloth as cultural appropriation in the 1790s. 

An exhibition I have co-curated with Dr. Laura Engel, Artful Nature: Fashion and Theatricality, opened at the Lewis Walpole Library (Yale University) in February 2020; you can view the exhibition online, and watch a short video tour with the curators

In 2020 I won the Bradley R. Dewey award for scholarship at Franklin & Marshall College.

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


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, Caricature Unmasked, examined the origins of political caricature in the 18th century; my second, 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.

Here are my most recent articles and essays:

  • “Lady Charlotte Campbell and Fashionable Neoclassicism,” in Disseminating Dress: Britain’s Fashion Networks, 1600-1970 (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).
  • “Body/Clothing.” A Cultural History of Color in the Age of Enlightenment. Co-authored with Mechthild Fend. London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2020.
  • New Objects, New Contexts,” in Jeffrey Collins, Elizabeth Fraser, Elizabeth Mansfield, Amelia Rauser, Kristel Smentek & Wendy Bellion, Paris Spies-Gans, Nancy Um, Amy Freund, “Reflections on HECAA at 25: A Roundtable Discussion,” in Journal18: A Journal of Eighteenth-Century Art and Culture, no. 9, March 2020.
  • “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, 2017, pp. 11-35.
  • Vitalist Sculpture and the Belly Pad of 1793.” In Journal18: A Journal of Eighteenth-Century Art and Culture, no. 3, March 2017.
  • “Thomas Lawrence’s Consumptive Chic: Reinterpreting Lady Manners’ Hectic Flush in 1794.” Co-authored with Dr. Carolyn Day. In Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 49 no. 4, 2016: 455-474.
  • “Living Statues and Neoclassical Dress in Late Eighteenth-Century Naples.” In Art History, vol. 38 no. 3, 2015: 462-487.


Grants & Awards

Bradley R. Dewey award for scholarship at Franklin & Marshall College, 2020.

Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award, India, 2018-2019. This enabled me to spend Spring 2019 in residence at St. Teresa's College, Kochi, India.

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.

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