History of Art


Caitlin Powell

PhD supervisor: Professor Frederic J. Schwartz
Working title for PhD: 'Subtractive Posthumanism: Rethinking Received Notions of the Reproductive Body in Weimar Germany'

My research project aims to negotiate the position of reproductive bodies within the discussion of posthumanism in Weimar Germany. Over recent years, the notion of posthumanism has been key to studies of art and culture in Weimar, often characterised by a forced and thoroughgoing reconsideration of selfhood, well-explored through the figure of the inventor and prosthetics. My project challenges this exclusively masculine and augmentative narrative, examining the tension at play at the intersections of biopolitics and the abject in law-making and representations in visual culture. This will also help to explore an absence of images of termination throughout visual culture. I will be exploring a charged historical moment from the perspective, and with the new conceptual tools, of today, when the termination of pregnancy and the legal status of bodies, both born and unborn, are still issues of urgent and current social concern.


  • Winner of the Association for Art History Postgraduate Dissertation Prize 2019 for my MA dissertation ‘Gebärpflicht: The Subtractive Posthumanism of the Reproductive Body in Weimar Germany’.