Modern Europe, 2010
Modern Central Europe; Vienna; gender and sexuality; embodiment; history of emotions; cultural history; feminist and queer theory
Bodies that Shimmer: An Embodied History of Vienna's New Women, 1893–1931
Katya Motyl is a PhD candidate in modern European history and a dissertation fellow at the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, focusing on the history of gender and sexuality in Central Europe. Her dissertation, " Bodies that Shimmer: An Embodied History of Vienna's New Women, 1893–1931," examines how bourgeois and working-class women experienced changes in gender and sexuality from the fin de siècle to the interwar period. Fin-de-siècle Vienna is often remembered as a place saturated with sex. But while most scholarship examines this milieu of "sexual crisis" through the lens of intellectual history, focusing on how male contemporaries imagined female sexuality, little attention is given to its experience. Drawing on methodologies from social and cultural histories, as well as theories of gender and sexuality, her dissertation rethinks the alleged sexual crisis—what she refers to as a sexual transformation or Wende—in terms of the embodied experience of Viennese women. Ultimately, the dissertation argues that over time, women began using and experiencing their bodies in new ways, as evidenced by the expansion of their movement through urban space, greater emotional expression, participation in hygienic practices and beautification rituals, and an intensified awareness of pleasure and pain.
Katya holds a BA with distinction in intellectual history from Barnard College (2008) and an MA in modern European history from the University of Chicago (2011). Her research has been supported by the Fulbright US Student Program, the Österreichisches Austauschdienst, and, at the University of Chicago, by the Division of the Social Sciences and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.
Katya has served as intern and lecturer in the Department of History, the European Civilization sequence, and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. Currently, she serves as the Eastern Europe editor at the history of sexuality blog, NOTCHES.