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Akad. Rätin a. Z. Dr. Katharina Boehm

Sprechstunden im SoSe 2015: Die 11-12.30

Sprechstunden in der vorlesungsfreien Zeit:


I studied English, German and Comparative Literary Studies at the Albert‐Ludwigs‐Universität Freiburg and the University of Kent, and took my MA in Comparative Literature in 2006. My studies were funded by the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes) and by the School of European Languages and Cultures of the University of Kent.

From October 2006 to April 2010, I studied towards a PhD in English Literature at the University of Oxford (Linacre College) and King’s College London, funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation. My doctoral thesis explored popular scientific cultures and notions of childhood in the works of Charles Dickens.

I joined the department in 2009 and am currently at work on a new project on antiquarianism and literature in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. I received two fellowships to work on this project: in the academic year 2012/13 I was a visiting research fellow at the English Department of Rutgers University (Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by the VolkswagenStiftung) and for the academic year 2013/14 I joined the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) as a Junior Fellow. Since 2014 I am an elected member of the Junges Kolleg of the Bavarian Academy for Sciences and Humanities (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften).


My main research interests are in British literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and in the history of science.

My first monograph, Charles Dickens and the Sciences of Childhood: Popular Medicine, Child Health and Victorian Culture, was published with Palgrave Macmillan’s Series in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture in 2013. In this book, I explore how Dickens’s engagement with novel medical and scientific conceptions of the child, and with disputes over scientific credit and prestige, shaped the development of his narrative techniques and aesthetic imagination. I also examine how Dickensian child characters were appropriated by diverse medical institutions and proponents of certain scientific theories in order to bolster claims to scientific authority, to rally support for new methods of medical research and to invest them with prestige and legitimacy.

Like my first monograph, my current work is interdisciplinary in nature. It explores exchanges and collaborations between literary writers, antiquaries and natural historians who shared an interest in Britain’s material, tangible past. I focus on the second half of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth century, and I am particularly interested in how literary and non-literary texts from this period place British historical relics and monuments in the context of living and perished cultures around the world.

My articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Studies in the Novel, SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 and Victorian Review. I am the editor of a volume of essays on nineteenth-century concepts of materiality and embodied experience (Bodies and Things in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, Palgrave Macmillan 2012), and co-editor of a collection on old age and aging in nineteenth-century literature and culture (Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Aging in Nineteenth-Century Culture, Routledge 2013) as well as of a ‘New Agenda’ issue of the Journal of Victorian Culture on urban mobility and street culture in nineteenth-century London (Urban Mobility: New Maps of Victorian London = Journal of Victorian Culture, 15.2 (2010)). I am founding co-editor of Victorian Network (www.victoriannetwork.org).



Charles Dickens and the Sciences of Childhood: Popular Medicine, Child Health and Victorian Culture. Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture Series. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Edited Collections

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Aging in Nineteenth-Century Culture. New York: Routledge, 2013. [ Co-edited with Anne-Julia Zwierlein and Anna Farkas].

Bodies and Things in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture. Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture Series. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Urban Mobility: New Maps of Victorian London. ‘New Agenda’ Issue of the Journal of Victorian Culture 15.2 (2010). [Co-edited with Josephine McDonagh].


I am founding co-editor of Victorian Network, a peer-reviewed, MLA-indexed online journal that was set up with a grant from the British Arts and Humanities Council in 2008. The journal is dedicated to publishing and promoting the best work in Victorian Studies by postgraduate students and early career academics. Themed issues are published bi-annually. They are guest-edited by established scholars in the field and peer-reviewed by doctoral students.

Victorian Bodies and Body Parts, guest-edited by Pamela Gilbert, Victorian Network, 6.1 (2014), forthcoming.

Victorians and the Law, guest-edited by Kathrine Frank, Victorian Network, 5.2 (2013).

Victorian Other Worlds, guest-edited by Cora Kaplan, Victorian Network, 5.1 (2013).

Courtship, Sex and Marriage in Victorian Culture, guest-edited by Charlotte Mathieson, Victorian Network, 4.2 (2012).

Production and Consumption in Victorian Literature and Culture, guest-edited by Ella Dzelzainis, Victorian Network, 4.1 (2012).

Theatricality in Victorian Literature and Culture, guest-edited by Beth Palmer, Victorian Network, 3.2 (2011).

Crossing the Line: Affinities Before and After 1900, introduced by Regenia Gagnier, Victorian Network 3.1 (2011).

Victorian Literature and Science, guest-edited by Ian Henderson, Victorian Network 2 (2010),

The British Empire and Victorian Literature and Culture, guest-edited by Muireann O’Cinneide, Victorian Network 1 (2009).

Journal Articles

‘“Labouring Thoughts”: University Learning and the Commercialization of Intellectual Labour in the City Comedies of Thomas Middleton’, SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, 56.2 (2016). Forthcoming.

‘Historiography and the Material Imagination in the Novels of Sarah Waters’, Studies in the Novel 43.2 (2011), 237-57.

‘Introduction: Urban Mobility’ [with J. McDonagh], Journal of Victorian Culture (‘New Agenda’ Issue Urban Mobility: New Maps of Victorian London) 15.2 (2010), 194-200.

‘Charles Dickens, the Social Mission of Pediatrics, and the Great Ormond Hospital for Sick Children’, Victorian Review 35.1 (2009), 115-35.

Book Chapters

‘Antiquarian Time Travellers: William Hamilton, Anachronistic Time and the Body as Artefact’. Sculpture, Sexuality and History, 1750-1930. Ed. Jana Funke and Jennifer Grove. Under review with Ashgate.

‘Enlightenment Fictions and Objects: The Bluestockings and the Matter of History.’ Anglistentag 2014 Proceedings. Ed. Rainer Emig and Jana Gohrisch. Heidelberg: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2015. Forthcoming.

‘Gender and Medical Realism in the Poetry of Donald Hall.’ Gender and Disease in Literary and Medical Cultures. Ed. Anne-Julia Zwierlein and Iris Heid. Heidelberg: Winter, 2014. 193-212.

‘Transatlanticism and the Old Indian: Old Age and Cross-Racial Mentorship in Narratives of National Belonging.’ Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Aging in Nineteenth-Century Culture. Ed. Katharina Boehm, Anna Farkas and Anne-Julia Zwierlein. New York: Routledge, 2013. 95-114.

‘Introduction’ [with Anna Farkas and Anne-Julia Zwierlein]. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Aging in Nineteenth-Century Culture. Ed. Katharina Boehm, Anna Farkas and Anne-Julia Zwierlein. New York: Routledge, 2013. 1-17.

‘Armut, Affekt und Sozialkritik in Dickens’ Christmas Carol und der Viktorianischen Presse.’ ‚Klassiker‘ der Internationalen Jugendliteratur: Kulturelle und epochenspezifische Diskurse aus der Sicht der Fachdisziplinen. Ed. Anita Schilcher and Claudia Pechner. Baltmannsweiler: Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren, 2013. 139-56.

‘Bodies and Things in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture: Introduction’. Bodies and Things in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture. Ed. Katharina Boehm. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, 1-16.

‘Malthusianism and Anatomical Science in Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist’, Anglistentag 2007 Proceedings. Ed. Klaus Stierstorfer. Heidelberg: Winter, 2008, 425-34.

Shorter Contributions and Reviews

‘Eleanor Cross.’ Vetusta Monumenta Digital Edition. Ed. Noah Heringman, Crystal Lake, Mathhew Reeve and Anne Myers. Forthcoming.

‘The Cultural Politics of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century: Interdisciplinary Perspectives’, Conference Report, Zeitschrift für Germanistik 22 (2012), 412-14.

‘Historical Fiction’, ‘Epistolary Novel’, ‘Orientalism’, ‘Sublime.’ Companion to Literary Romanticism. Ed. Andrew Maunder. New York: Facts on File, 2010.

‘Review of Paul Young’s Globalization and the Great Exhibition’, ZAA – A Quarterly of Language 160; Literature and Culture 58.4 (2010), 399-400.

‘Review of Monica Flegel’s Conceptualizing Cruelty to Children in Nineteenth-Century England: Literature, Representation, and the NSPPC’, Dickens Quarterly 27.3 (2010), 236-38.

‘Conversation: Curiosity and Talking in the Nineteenth-Century’, Conference Report, History Workshop Journal 65 (2008), 274-76.


Organisation of Conferences, Workshops and Sessions


International interdisciplinary workshop, co-organised with Victoria Mills (University of Cambridge): ‘Mediating History’s Materiality, 1700-1900’, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg


International workshop, co-organised with Lynn Festa (Rutgers): ‘Traveling Objects: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Matter of History’, Center for Cultural Analysis, Rutgers University (funding: VolkswagenStiftung)


Special session ‘Material Culture and Phenomenologies of Time, 1760-1815’, 128th MLA Annual Convention, Boston.


International conference, co-organised with Anne-Julia Zwierlein (Universität Regensburg): ‘The Cultural Politics of Aging in the Nineteenth Century’, Universität Regensburg (funding: DFG)


International conference, co-organised with Jo McDonagh (King’s College London): ‘Street Life: Victorian Culture at the Crossroads’, English Department, King’s College London (funding: Roberts Grant, KCL)


International conference, co-organised with Rosemary Tate: ‘Bodies and Things in Victorian Literature and the Matter of Culture’, English Department, University of Oxford.

Conference Papers (selected)

‘Enlightenment Fictions and Objects: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Matter of History.’ Anglistentag 2014, Leibniz Universität Hannover, 22 September 2014.

‘Die Dinglichkeit der Geschichte: Literatur und die materielle Kultur der Vergangenheit im achtzehnten Jahrhundert.’ Interdisziplinärer Präsentationstag. Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 19 September 2014.

‘Daniel Defoe’s Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain, Antiquarianism and the Materiality of the Past.’ Internationaler Workshop Mediating History’s Materiality, 1700-1900. Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies, 25 July 2014.

‘Experimental Subjects: Literature and Theatrical Medial Trials in the Nineteenth Century.’ Lunchtime Lecture Series, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, 26 June 2014.

‘Tangible Pasts: Literature and the Material Histories of Antiquarianism.’ Anglistisches Forschungskolloquium, Lehrstuhl Professor Dr. Monika Fludernik. Universität Freiburg, 7 May 2014.

‘Tangible Histories: Emplacing the Past in the Early Eighteenth Century.’ Humanities and Social Sciences Colloquium, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, 25 November 2013.

‘Locating the Past: Antiquarianism on the Move and “Upon the Spot” in Daniel Defoe’s Tour and William Stukeley’s Itinerarium Curiosum.’ Workshop Traveling Objects: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Matter of History.’ Rutgers University, 20 September 2013.

Invited Keynote Lecture, ‘Body Boundary Object.’ Victorian Body Parts Conference, Birkbeck College, 14 September 2013.

‘Bottled Babies and Aztec Lilliputians: Saltationis Sensationalism in Popular Anatomical Exhibitions and Charles Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend.’ Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Annual Convention. Charlottesville, 14-17 March 2013.

‘Performing Anachronism: Antiquarianism and the Body as Artefact.’ 128th MLA Annual Convention. Boston, 4 January 2013.

‘The Material Histories of Antiquarian Feeling.’ Research Colloquium, History of Emotions Research Group, Max Planck Institute for Human Development. Berlin, 11 September 2012.

‘Antiquarian Laughter: Satire, Sex and Homosociability in Late Eighteenth-Century Dilettanti Culture.’ History and Humour: 1800 – Today. Conference, Freiburg, 6 Juli 2012.

‘Antiquarian Time Travellers.’ Desiring Statues: Statuary, Sexuality, History. Conference, Exeter, 27 April 2012.

Oliver Twist, Childhood and the Culture of Mesmerist Experimentation.’ ESSE 10. University of Turin, 24-28 August 2010.

‘Dickens and the Popular Sciences of Childhood.’ The Dickens Day: Dickens and Science, Birkbeck College. London, 10 October 2009.

‘Monstrous Fictions: Sudden Evolutionary Change in Victorian Scientific and Literary Texts.’ Joint Meeting of the British Association for Victorian Studies and of the North American Victorian Studies Association at Cambridge University. Cambridge, 13‐15 July 2009.

‘The Aesthetics of Ethnological Exhibitions in the Nineteenth‐Century.’ Research Colloquium of the Shows of London Group. London, 30 January 2009.

‘“A Place for More than the Healing of Bodily Sickness”: Working‐Class Childhood and Children’s Hospitals and Infirmaries in Mid‐Nineteenth Century Children’s Literature.’ 124th MLA Annual Convention. San Francisco, 27 December 2008.

‘Pediatrics and the Great Ormond Street Hospital in Children’s Periodicals of the 1850s and 1860s.’ Annual Meeting of the North American Association for Victorian Studies at Yale University. New Haven, 16 November 2008.

‘Childhood in Early Novels by Charles Dickens.’ Victorian Research Seminar, University of Oxford. Oxford, 12 November 2007.

  1. Fakultät für Sprach-, Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaften
  2. Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik

Anglistik / British Studies

Akademische Rätin a. Z.

Dr. Katharina Boehm


Room: PT 3.2.59

Phone: 943-3499