Janina Wellmann Image by ©Maurice Weiss/Ostkreuz
©Maurice Weiss/Ostkreuz


Janina Wellmann is a cultural historian of science. Her work focuses on the history and epistemology of the life sciences in the modern era.
At present she is working at the research institute “Media Cultures of Computer Simulation” at Leuphana University Lüneburg.

In 2017/2018, she held the Maury Green Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and was invited to the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2013/14.
Wellmann came to Lüneburg after earning her M.A at Humboldt-University zu Berlin and writing her doctoral thesis at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. She holds a joint degree (cotutelle de thèse) from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales Paris and Technical University Berlin.

She has published on the history of embryology, the visual culture of the life sciences and is currently finishing her second book on “Biological Motion.”
In May 2022 she will lecture at Dartmouth College, NH as Harris Distinguished Visiting Professor.

Current Research

Biological motion

Currently, Janina Wellmann is completing a book on biological motion (to be published with Zone Books), presenting a comprehensive history of concepts, images and ways of moving in biology from the eighteenth century to today. The book examines motion in the living world not as a simple given but as a quality in relation to how we produce the knowledge about motion in a specific historical and cultural setting. Studying concepts and visualizations of motion in history, then, reveals changing notions of what it means to be alive, past and present.


Institut für Kultur und Ästhetik Digitaler Medien
Am Sande 5
21335 Lüneburg


+49 4131 608-7165