Thesis: Private and Public: The Construction of the New Female Citizen in the Work of Käthe Kollwitz
This thesis examines how Käthe Kollwitz's self-portraits, images of working-class women, and political posters may be understood through the context of citizenship in late-nineteenth-and-early-twentieth century Germany. As an artist, Kollwitz worked during a remarkable period of history which not only witnessed the creation of a united Germany, but also the re-definition and expansion of the role of the female citizen. Yet, the core of women's identity continued to be rooted firmly within the private sphere through the prescribed roles of wife and mother. This thesis addresses how Käthe Kollwitz, as a working artist, wife and mother, makes sense of the two oppositional dimensions of womanhood: public and private. In particular it explores the impact of citizenship on the formation of identity, the public and private roles of the female citizen in Imperial, Weimar, and Nazi Germany, how Kollwitz's idea of the female citizen was affected by the changing political and social circumstances in which she worked, and how her artworks confront women's ability to navigate both the private sphere and the public realm.
Teaching Associate in Modern and Contemporary Art
- Introduction to Modern Art
- Approaching the Object
- Histories and Theories of Art
- Art and War
- Approaches to the Artist
Selected Conference Papers and Lectures:
- "Motherhood at the Centre: Connecting Creativity and Reproduction in Käthe Kollwitz's Artistic Practice,' Käthe Kollwitz: A Life in Text and Image, Symposium arranged in conjunction with the British Museum and Ikon Partnership Exhibition, 'Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz,' IKON Gallery, Birmingham, England, 14 October 2017
- "Motherhood at the Centre: Connecting Creativity and Reproduction in Käthe Kollwitz's Artistic Practice," Lecture for the Gender and Sexuality Research Network at the University of Reading as part of their seminar series, 7 November 2016
- "Journals, Gender, and 'Dada' Revolution in Cologne, 1919-1920,' Paper presented as part of a Postgraduate Panel for the Symposium, Dada 1916-2016: A Century of Revolt, Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Glasgow, Scotland, 3 November 2016.
- "Rejection and Renewal: Contextualising German Expressionism," A-Level Lecture at Dauntsey's School, Wiltshire, England, 3 October 2016
- "The Origins of an Identity: Käthe Kollwitz's Early Explorations of the Public and Private" Paper Presented at "Art and Politics in Europe in the Modern Period" Conference at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, 29 June - 3 July 2016
- "Private and Public: The Construction of the New Female Citizen in the Work of Käthe Kollwitz,' Poster Presented at "All the World's a Stage': Performing Identity in Everyday Life,' University of Bristol, England, 1 July 2016
- "Woman as 'Split': Investigations of the Public and Private in Käthe Kollwitz's Early Self-Portraiture" Paper Presented at Association of Art Historians Summer Symposium: "Gender in Art: Production, Collection, Display,' Loughborough University, England, 8-9 June 2016
- "Käthe Kollwitz's Explorations of the Public and Private,' Flash Paper Presented at 'Gendered Spaces' Postgraduate Symposium Organised by the SWW DTP Gender and Sexuality Research Cluster, University of Reading, England, 19 May 2016
- "Private and Public: The Construction of the New Female Citizen in the Work of Käthe Kollwitz,' Poster Presented at Research Without Borders, University of Bristol, England, 9 May 2016
- "German Expressionism: Art and Society" A-Level Lecture for Conference 'Art History in School and in University,' Heathfield School, Ascot, England, 6 February 2016
- Research Assistant for the major new exhibition, Expressionism: Rebirth and Renewal, Royal Academy of Arts, London
- Kajs, Elizabeth. 'The Origins of an Idenitty: Käthe Kollwitz's Early Explorations of the Public and Private,' Art and Politics in Europe in the Modern Period (2020): 91-98.
- Kajs, Elizabeth.'Mining Germany's Cultural History,' Art History 39, no. 5 (2016): 1028-1031.
- Kajs, Elizabeth.'The Tools of War and Industry: The Erasure of the Family in Käthe Kollwitz's Der Krieg,' North Street Review: Arts and Visual Culture 17 (2014): 21-33.
- MLitt (Distinction in the Dissertation) in History of Art, University of St. Andrews, Scotland
- Dissertation: 'Journals, Gender and 'Dada' Revolution in Cologne, 1919-1920'
- B.A. (Honours) in History of Art and German, Southwestern University, Texas, USA