Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Lehrstuhl für Wissenschaftsgeschichte

M.A. Caitlin Powell

M.A. Caitlin Powell
caitlin.powell.18 (at)
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Caitlin Powell studies the medical, legal and cultural history of the body under German Modernity. They are currently completing their thesis at the History of Art Department, University College London. Their research is funded by UCL and the Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienst (DAAD). In 2020 she was awarded the Association for Art History’s Postgraduate Award and later presented her research at the Association for Art History conference. This paper forms the basis for a forthcoming chapter on the limits of empathy within reproductive rights campaigns.


Research interests

  • Modern German art and design
  • Material feminisms; technology, gender and the body
  • Medical cultures
  • Museology; spatial and social practices


Current project

Subtractive Posthumanism: Rethinking the Reproductive Body in Weimar Germany

Caitlin Powell’s doctoral research concerns the reproductive body in Weimar Germany, specifically, the intersections of the pregnant body and technology within the fields of medicine, law and visual culture. This project explores the fraught relationship between the body politic and its material realities, and how this tension was coded and negotiated within spheres of public knowledge production.


The termination of pregnancy and the legal status of bodies, both born and unborn, are of urgent contemporary concern and have produced new conceptual tools by which to consider them.  A posthuman reading of the reproductive body guides the project’s methodology. First, as a body which publicly grows and changes, thereby challenging notions of the stable body; and second, as a body which has historically integrated itself with technologies of termination outside of the authorised medical and legal spheres. This was a charged historical moment, in which the body served as a vital cultural object, oscillating between states of mutability and prohibition.




  • ‘‘She – the great agitator’: Käthe Kollwitz and the limits of empathetic spectatorship in Weimar Germany’ in Empathic Engagements (Palgrave Macmillan, 2024) [forthcoming].