University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Sarah Betzer

Associate Professor, Art History


“The Long Eighteenth Century?”

“The "Long" Eighteenth Century?” – The focus of my research while a Mellon Humanities Fellow takes off from the ubiquity of the phrase: "the long eighteenth century." Proliferating in calls for participation and panel descriptions throughout art history and visual culture studies, if the mark of an elongated eighteenth century is inescapable, this terminology merits further scrutiny. During my period as a Mellon Fellow, I will consider the rise of a "long" eighteenth century alongside the significant transformation of art historical inquiry into expanded geographical and cultural terrains. 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? And what impact, if any, has a "worlding" of art history had upon humanistic thinking about the relative length or shortness, the narrowness or breadth, of the eighteenth century? My consideration of these questions will take the form of a historiographic analysis–rooted in art history but with a vantage onto scholarship in allied humanistic disciplines–that will appear in a special issue of Journal 18 that I am co-editing with Prof. Dipti Khera (New York University/Institute of Fine Arts), and that will appear in late 2021.


Sarah Betzer is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Virginia. A specialist of modern European art and art historical theory and methods, her research, teaching, and graduate supervision is orientated to the intersections of art theoretical debates and artistic process; the enduring power of the classical past; and the dynamics of gendered and sexed bodies in representation. She is the author of Ingres and the Studio: Women, Painting, History (Penn State University Press, 2010), and Animating the Antique: Sculptural Encounter in the Age of Aesthetic Theory (forthcoming, Penn State University Press). Her essays have appeared in The Art Bulletin, Oxford Art Journal, Art History, and Sculpture Journal.