Gender and Sexuality, Body, Modern Central Europe, Urban, Cultural


Katya Motyl is Assistant Professor of History, as well as Affiliate Faculty of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program and the Global Studies Program at Temple University. A cultural and social historian, her research and teaching center on the history of modern Central Europe, gender and sexuality, the body, urban space, and methodology/theory. Motyl’s teaching practice draws on her training as a feminist historian of gender and sexuality and is grounded in her commitment to inclusivity.  

Motyl’s book, Embodied Histories: New Womanhood in Vienna, 1894-1934 (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming spring 2024) recasts the monolithic New Woman in terms of new womanhood-as-bodily-practices. It shows that while most people did not identify as New Women per se, many of them took part in everyday, bodily practices––such as walking, body shaping, emoting, desiring, and looking––that subverted conventional femininity. Set in modernizing Vienna amid its “corporeal turn” from the fin de siècle to the interwar period, the book traces the histories of these bodily practices and how they came to transform what it meant to be a woman for years to come.  

Motyl is particularly interested in the methodologies and theories undergirding historical practice. Her article, “Re-Embodying History’s ‘Lady’: Women’s History, Materiality and Public Space in Early Twentieth-Century Vienna” (Gender & History, March 2021), discusses and demonstrates a new theoretical and methodological approach to women’s history by focusing on embodiment. In draws on the “material turn” in feminist theory to demonstrate how, by calling attention to the vocabulary of embodiment and practicing historical imagination, an embodied women’s history can be put into practice. 

Motyl is currently working on a second project, which explores the history of the dandy of fin de siècle Central Europe, specifically the Habsburg Empire and successor states. She is presenting her initial research on the Viennese dandy, the Gigerl, at the Association for Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies Annual Convention in November 2023.  

Motyl received her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and her Ph.D. with distinction from the University of Chicago. Before joining the faculty at Temple in 2018, Motyl was the recipient of a Max Weber Fellowship at the European University Institute near Florence, Italy.  

Selected Publications


  • Embodied Histories: New Womanhood in Vienna, 1894-1934 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, forthcoming Spring 2024)


  • “Re-Embodying History’s ‘Lady’: Women’s History, Materiality and Public Space in Early Twentieth-Century Vienna,” Gender & History 33, no. 1 (March 2021): 169-191.

Courses Taught

  • HIST 0824 Gender and World Societies
  • HIST 2317 Central Europe through War and Revolution
  • HIST 3423 Glitter and Doom: Europe 1885-1914
  • HIST 3431 Women's Lives in Modern Europe
  • HIST 4934 Honors Historiography and Research Methods
  • HIST 88001 Topics in History I (Cultural History; Gender History)