Dr Camilla Smith BA, M.Phil, PhD (University of Birmingham)

Dr Camilla Smith

Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies

Contact details

Barber Institute
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I specialise in eighteenth–century Swiss, and to a lesser extent, British visual cultures, with a growing interest in German visual cultures in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I gained my research council funded PhD from the University of Birmingham in December 2007 and was appointed lecturer at Birmingham in 2008. My research into Anglo-Swiss relations has been awarded fellowships at the Yale Center for British Art and my recent research into Weimar culture has been funded by the DAAD Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst.


I teach across the Art History and Visual Culture curriculum at Birmingham, both at postgraduate and undergraduate levels. I convene the first year courses The Enlightenment and its Discontents, and the introductory modules to art history: Historical Concepts in Art History and Methods and Debates in Art History. I also teach the second year module Art, Architecture and Design in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and co-convene the third year and MA module The Body and its Representation with my colleague Francesca Berry. I convene the Postgraduate Research Training and Methods module.

I teach two third year and MA Special Subjects:

  • Fashioning Flesh and Technology: Modernism and the Body in Germany 1918-1933
  •  Berlin 1890-1933: Symphony of a (Great?) City

I also contribute to the cross-School BA Modern Languages Programme on the module Approaches to European Culture.

As part of my teaching I have taken undergraduate and postgraduate students and the Friends of the Barber Institute to Berlin, Paris and Vienna.

Postgraduate supervision

Supervision of MA, MRes and doctoral theses on Fin-de-Siècle Berlin and Vienna, The Weimar Republic, Swiss and, to a lesser degree, aspects of eighteenth-century British visual culture. I also welcome PhD supervision on the Distance Learning PhD programme offered at Birmingham.

Postgraduate research includes:

  • Arnold Schoenberg’s Self-Portraiture: Identity revealed in Art and Music (PhD)
  • Gender and Myth in Estella Canziani’s Travel Guides (MPhil, AHRC-funded, co-supervision with Dr. Francesca Berry) 
  • Henry Fuseli’s Conceptions of ‘Self’ and the Status of Art (PhD, co-supervision with Dr. Richard Clay) 
  • The photographic self-portraits of Marianne Breslauer, Eva Besnyö and Lotti Jacobi (MRes, AHRC-funded)
  • The eighteenth-century engraved fan leaves of George Wilson (PhD)
  • Onania and female sexuality in text and image in eighteenth-century England (MRes)


My research has focused on the Swiss artist Henry Fuseli with particular reference to his early drawings produced during his ministerial training in Zurich. I am interested in Anglo-Swiss cultural relations during the eighteenth century and have published on travelers’ perceptions and myth-making of Switzerland during the ‘Enlightenment’.

More recent research has examined attitudes towards homosexuality through tourist discourses and in particular, illustrated travel guides produced during the Weimar Republic. Current research examines the intersecting discourses of Sexology and visual culture in Weimar Germany. I am exploring Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science. I am interested in the ways in which Sexology intersects with the contemporaneous erotic art market and how this relates to the ways in which sexologists such as Hirschfeld used visual culture in their own treatise.

My research into aspects of both the eighteenth and early twentieth centuries converges around  broader questions of morality and legality , particularly  exploring issues of sexuality and the erotic.

I am currently working on a book length project on the Weimar artist Jeanne Mammen. This project explores her legacy as a well-known Weimar artist of Neue Sachlichkeit in relation to her Cubist work of inner emigration produced during the 1930s, as well as her pivotal role as a woman artist contributing to Galerie Gerd Rosen and Galerie Anja Bremer in the immediate post-war period in Berlin.

Other activities

  • Director of Postgraduate Studies, Department of Art History, Curating  and Visual Studies
  • Deputy Chair College of Art and Law Graduate School Mitigations and Extensions Panel
  • Third Year Tutor


Book chapters

Camilla Smith, ‘William Coxe’s Travels in Switzerland 1789: A Travel Book Examining Alpine Exploration, Local History and Swiss Folklore’ in Richard Clay and Andrew Chandler eds, Travel By the Book: An Exhibition of Eighteenth-Century Illustrated Travel Books at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Cromwell Press,Trowbridge, 2006, 39–68 (ISBN 0-9550558-1-4) 9,804 words.

‘Questioning bohemian myth in Weimar Berlin: Reinterpreting Jeanne Mammen and the artist function through her illustrations Der Maler und sein Modell [‘The Painter and his Model’] (1927)’ in David Machin (ed.), Visual Communication. Handbooks of Communication Science (HOCS) eds, Peter J. Schulz and Paul Cobley, De Gruyter Mouton: 2014, 357-387 (ISBN 978-3-11-025548 and online ISBN 978-3-11-025549-2) 10,152 words.

Peer-reviewed articles

Camilla Smith, ‘Between Fantasy and Angst: Assessing the Subject and Meaning of Henry Fuseli’s Late Pornographic Drawings 1800-1825’, Art History, Vol. 33, no. 3 (2010), Wiley-Blackwell, 420-448 (ISSN 0141-6790) 17,236 words.

Camilla Smith, ‘Telling tales: the construction of nature and Alpine myth in text and image in eighteenth-century Zurich’, Social Semiotics, (2013) Routledge, 2-21 (DOI: 10.1080/10350330.2013.822746) 9,996 words.

Camilla Smith, ‘Challenging Baedeker through the Art of Sexual Science: An Exploration of Homosexuality in Curt Moreck’s Guide to “Depraved” Berlin (1931)’. Oxford Art Journal, Vol. 36, No. 3, October (2013), Oxford University Press, 231-256, 11,404 words.

Academic journal review articles

Camilla Smith, ‘Women’s Contribution to Modernism: Discover, Recover, or Revise?’ Oxford Art Journal, vol. 32, no. 3, (2009), Oxford University Press. 453-458. 4,901 words.

‘Exploring reproducibility and regionalism in Weimar Germany’. Oxford Art Journal, vol. 37, no. 3, (2014), Oxford University Press, 335-339,3,803, words.


‘Was nicht im “Baedeker” steht: Exploring Art, Mass Culture and Anti-tourism in Weimar Germany’, forthcoming New German Critique (Duke University Press, 2017) 11,323 words.

‘Sex Sells! The Gurlitt Empire, (homo)erotic print culture and women artists in the Weimar Republic’ This article explores the art dealer and publisher Wolfgang Gurlitt (the cousin of Hildebrand Gurlitt, one of Hitler’s prominent art dealers) and his connections to erotic print cultures in Weimar Berlin.