#10   1720 (Fall 2020)

The year 1720 witnessed the world’s first international financial disaster, precipitated by the South Sea and Mississippi Bubbles. On the occasion of its upcoming tercentenary – and mindful of its relevance to our own contemporary experiences of financial collapse and instability – Journal18 is soliciting articles that reevaluate the importance and long-term cultural impact of 1720 as a watershed year. Though the 1720 economic crisis has long been recognized as gateway to the boom-and-bust cycles of the modern world, the field of art history has thus far contributed relatively little to our understanding of its significance. This issue takes part in the work of redressing this imbalance.

Throughout the eighteenth century, cultural as well as financial life remained permeated by the memory of the Mississippi and South Sea Bubbles: disasters that resulted when the bankrupted governments of France and England, respectively, sought to reverse their financial fortunes by trading their debt for equity in overseas trading corporations. While many artworks reflect the slave labor-based pursuit of tobacco, sugar, gold and other commodities that sustained the speculative frenzy, others more broadly register the enduring impact of a crash course in new financial products. Rather than simply representing the rise of a capitalist economy whose ascendancy may arguably be traced to 1720, how did eighteenth-century artworks variously frame, internalize, resist and embody the bubbles? More broadly, as Susan Buck-Morss has written, it was during the eighteenth-century Enlightenment that the category of “the economy” was not only invented and naturalized but also given representation. In the long aftermath of 1720, what roles did art, architecture and material culture play in this process? From Dutch caricatures of the bubbles that continued to circulate decades after the crisis to French Revolutionary trompe l’oeil prints of discredited banknotes, period artworks attest to the long shadow of financial catastrophe.

We invite proposals for articles that explore artistic engagements with the bubbles and with eighteenth-century bubble economies more generally. Of particular interest are explorations of the colonial ambitions behind the 1720 enterprises. We also welcome proposals that examine other visual and material engagements with 1720 as a seminal year in the formation of an increasingly global political economy.

Issue Editors
Nina Dubin, University of Illinois at Chicago
Meredith Martin, NYU and Institute of Fine Arts, New York

Submissions for issue #10 1720 are now closed.


#11   THE ARCHITECTURAL REFERENCE (Spring 2021)

This issue explores architectural referentiality, a concept that encompasses such phenomena as historicism, translation across media, and cross-cultural borrowing and adaptation. From Neo-Palladian treatises to Mughal microarchitecture to chinoiserie and turquerie, the eighteenth century witnessed multiple modes of architectural referentiality that both reflected and contributed to broader trends in the period’s visual and material cultures. In this age of intensified mobility and exchange, designers, patrons, viewers, and consumers were primed to (re)consider their own traditions in light of new models and information at their disposal. Such sharpened aesthetic consciousness gave rise to—and was itself facilitated by—various kinds of referencing associated with the emergence of novel styles, typologies, and techniques.

We welcome proposals that address this theme as it relates to any region, context, or medium. What forms did architectural referentiality take in the eighteenth century, and what was at stake in the processes and works involved? How did referentiality figure into architectural practice, the construction of historical narratives, and the representation of alternative temporal or geographic sites? Essays might investigate architectural plans and models, depictions on paper, microarchitectures, revivalist styles, transregional aesthetics, manuals, textual histories, or any other relevant topic situated in the long eighteenth century.

Issue Editors
Chanchal Dadlani, Wake Forest University
Ünver Rüstem, Johns Hopkins University

Submissions for issue #11 THE ARCHITECTURAL REFERENCE are now closed.


#12   THE “LONG” 18TH CENTURY? (Fall 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

Proposals for issue #12 THE “LONG” 18TH CENTURY? are now being accepted.

Proposal deadline: August 15, 2020.

To submit a proposal, send an abstract of 250 words (or 500 words for multi-authored proposals) and a brief biography to [email protected] and [email protected]. Accepted articles should not exceed 6000 words (including footnotes) and will be due on April 15, 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.


Further future issues will be advertised soon.