“Was du nicht alles zu erzählen hast!
So klein du bist, so groß bist du Phantast.”
Mephistopheles, in Goethe’s Faust II
During the Covid-19 crisis we have seen politicians, journalists and science communicators widely resorting to the use of religious themes and narrative tropes in framing the individual and collective experience of the novel coronavirus. This sociological perspective illuminates how narratives can undermine, rather than support, science and crisis management, and, using examples from the history of science, demonstrates which are best avoided, and why.
- ‘A Matter of Life and Death: Victorian Childhoods, and What We Can Learn from them Today’, University of Oxford, Department for Continuing Education, 13 March. [postponed]
- ‘Finding effective science-religion narratives in the Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond’, South-East Bishops’ Conference, Church of England, 27 July.
- ‘Human Flourishing in Times of Stress‘, York Festival of Ideas, 12 June. [online]
- ‘What would Lewis Carroll Do? Why we should all read Alice in Wonderland right now’, Alice’s Day, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford. [postponed]
- ‘Elon Zuckermusk in Wonderland: AI, Humour & the Victorians’, ‘AI & Comedy’ (internal symposium for Comedians, Comedy Writers & Academics), St Peter’s College, Oxford, 7 December.
- “The Fairy-Land of Science: The Alice in Wonderland World of Artificial Intelligence”, Hol Lecture, Simon Langton Grammar School, Canterbury, 6th December.
- “How Victorian science books for children can still help us understand the world”, Worcester College, Oxford, 22 July.
- “‘Alice in Brexitland’: The ongoing political relevance of Lewis Carroll’s classic, for old and young”, Oxford Alumni Association, 20 July.
- ‘Timeless Alice: Alice’s Adventures in the modern world- from the fourth dimension to climate change’, Alice’s Day, Bodleian Library, 6 July.
- “Fables for Tomorrow: The child as interpreter of nature in times of environmental crisis”, Children’s Literature and Science Symposium, Edinburgh Napier University, 22 February.
- ‘Teraphs, Bee-Hives, Fairy-Folk: The Literature and Science of Victorian AI’, Mind and Automation Seminar Series, Queen’s College, Oxford [postponed].
- Keynote Lecture: ‘A Common Denominator: Reassessing the Carroll-MacDonald friendship through their science’, Lewis Carroll and George MacDonald: An Influential Friendship, Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy, 1 September.
- ‘The Art and Architecture of Alice in Wonderland’, Christ Church, Oxford, 5 July.
- ‘Lewis Carroll in Psychology-Land: Fantasy literature and its psychological journeys’, Bodleian Library Oxford, Alice’s Day & Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth Exhibition, 7 July.
- ‘A bug-hunt in Wonderland: the symbolism and science of Alice’s insects and their transformations’, with Christopher Jeffs, ‘Insects Through the Looking Glass‘ Exhibition & Alice’s Day, Story Museum, Oxford, 7 July.
- ‘A Machine as wonderful and complex as Man: Automata in Literature and Culture’, ‘Marvellous Mechanical Museum‘ Exhibition, Compton Verney, 27 September.
- ‘Alice’s Adventures in Oxfordshire: How the landscapes and environments of Oxford inspired Lewis Carroll’s Wonderlands’, Abingdon Arms, Beckley, 25 November.
- Keynote Lecture: ‘Alice is dead, long live Alice!’, “Say What you Mean, Mean what you Say” Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland Conference, Université de Mons, Belgium, 19 April.
- ‘Staging Madness: Lewis Carroll, Victorian psychiatry, and the science of acting’, 4 May, University of York.
- ‘George MacDonald at the Archive: An Introduction to MacDonald Resources Available at Public Archives’, George MacDonald’s Scotland, University of Aberdeen, Jul 2017.
- ‘How Science Made Wonderland’, Mansfield College, Oxford, 27 July.
- ‘Visualising the Water-Babies’, Heath Robinson Museum, London, 2 November (watch here).
- ‘Alice through the Ages: The not-so-secret history of a literary icon’, Leipzig University, 15 December.
- ‘Lewis Carroll and the Architecture of Wonderland’, Christ Church, Oxford, 8 July.
- ‘Lewis Carroll and Victorian Psychiatry‘, Lewis Carroll Society, Art Worker’s Guild, London, 8 April.
- ‘Communicating Medicine in Graphic Novels: A Case Study from the Wellcome Collection’, Archives in the Age of Austerity, Sheffield Centre for Archival Practice, 18 November.
- ‘Death and Victorian Children’s Literature‘, DeadFriday (Halloween LiveFriday), Ashmolean Museum Oxford, 30 October (watch here).
- “Victorian Fantastic Literature and the Psychological Sciences: Lewis Carroll and George MacDonald”, Oxford Literature and Science Seminar, University of Oxford, English Faculty, 6 March.
‘”I cannot promise to take you home”: Death and Victorian Children’s Literature’, Ashmolean Museum, 2015.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Sesquicentenary Talks:
- “Alice and the Victorians: Children’s Literature and Illustration in Victorian Britain”, Wonderday, Christ Church, Oxford, 13 November.
- “Lewis Carroll’s Alice & Victorian Children’s Literature”, Alice Study Day, Surrey History Centre, 7 November.
- “What has Alice in Wonderland has got to do with the Cognitive Sciences?”, ‘Blurbs’ Interdisciplinary Lecture Series, Brasenose College, Oxford, 28 October.
- “Alice Reloaded: Alice’s Afterlife in the Digital Age”, Alice150 Conference, New York, 11 October.
- ‘150 years of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, Emory University/ Regent’s Park College, Oxford, 27 July.
- ‘Pictures and Conversations: Victorian Children’s Books and their Illustrations’, Alice’s Day Oxford, 4 July.
- ‘Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Jewish Culture‘, University of Oxford Chabad Society, 3 July.
- ‘Alice and Fashion’, The Alice Look exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood, London, 9 May.
- “The two go naturally together: Teaching Literature and Science at College and University level”, BSLS Teaching Symposium, University of Westminster, November.
- “Microscopes, Magic Mirrors and Holy Waters: Science, Religion and Fantastic Literature in Victorian Oxford”, Dinner Talk at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, July; invitation by Margaret Edson (Pullitzer Prize for Drama for her play W;t)
- “Down the Rabbit-Hole to the Centre of the Earth and Beyond: Magical Underground Journeys in Children’s Literature through the Ages.” Alice’s Day Oxford, July.
- “‘Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe: Lewis Carroll – Master of Nonsense.” Alice’s Day Oxford, July (more info).
- “Through the Glass Darkly: Victorian literary journeys to the Other Side of human consciousness” Arts and Humanities Discussion Group, University, January.
- “Victorian Wonderlands Revisited”, The Lewis Carroll Society, March, London.
- ‘‘Saints informed by science’: Identifying productive science-religion narratives in times of Covid-19‘, Christian Theology in the Midst of COVID-19, University of Winchester [Online], 17 June.
- ‘Marmite Fiction?: A historical perspective on environmental science, children’s literature and population health’, British Society for Literature and Science Annual Conference, University of Sheffield, 15-17 April [postponed].
- ‘Of Moths, Chimney Sweepers, and Silent Springs: Storytelling Environmental Crisis and in the Victorian age and today’, ‘Extinctions and Rebellions’ BSLS Symposium, University of Liverpool, 14 November.
- Conversations with beetles: The struggle against Nature’s silence in Victorian and contemporary Cli-Fi for children, IRSCL Congress ‘Silence and Silencing in Children’s Literature’, Stockholm University, 14-18 August.
- “‘More than a figment of scientific fancy’: Redefining the Victorian fantastic through the history of science”, Scholars’ Forum on Literature and the History of Science, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, July.
- ‘Pattern, Ecology and the Fantastic Imagination of George MacDonald and William Morris’, British Association for Victorian Studies Conference, University of Exeter, 29-31st August.
- “From Scotland to Utopia (via Hammersmith): William Morris, George MacDonald and the Utopian Aesthetic”, George MacDonald’s Scotland, University of Aberdeen, July.
- “‘Dreams, that elude the Maker’s frenzied grasp’: The scientific search for identity in the visions of Victorian fantastic literature”, (Dis)Connected Forms: Narratives on the Fractured Self, University of Hull, 8-9 September, 2016.
- “Entropy of Mind: Psychology and the realistic wonderlands of the fin-de-siècle fantasies of George MacDonald and Lewis Carroll”, BAVS conference, Cardiff University, 31 August-2 September.
- “George MacDonald and his ‘Realistic Wonderlands’ of Science”, George MacDonald and the Cambridge Apostles, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, 20-22nd July.
- “People call me by dreadful names”: Children’s Literature, Psychology and the Subject of Death, Horrible Histories, SHCY conference, King’s College, London, 16-18 June.
- “’I hope you understand all the big words’: Striking the balance between science and narrative through fantasy in 19th century children’s literature”, British Society for Literature and Science, Annual Conference, Birmingham Univeristy, 7-9 April.
- “Shifting Identities: Visual and Literary Incarnations of Victorian Psychiatric Thought in adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice”, Asylums, Pathologies and the Themes of Madness: Patrick McGrath and his Gothic Contemporaries’, University of Stirling, 16 January.
- “Illustrating Alice, Then and Now: Victorian Visual Culture and the Politics of Modern Children’s Book Illustration & Adaptation”, NCRCL MA/IBBY UK Conference, University of Roehampton, 14 November (read write-up here).
- “Alice through the Magnifying-Glass: Lewis Carroll and the Victorian Sciences of the Mind”, Alice Through the Ages Conference, Homerton College, University of Cambridge, 15-17 September.
- “’We’re all mad here’: Lunacy, Lewis Carroll and Victorian Psychiatry”, British Society for Literature and Science Annual Conference, University of Liverpool, April 2015.
- “What Alice in Wonderland has got to do with Cognitive Sciences: Interdisciplinary approaches to Fantastic Literature”, Literature and Science Early Career Researchers’ Forum, TORCH, University of Oxford, 3 February.
- “‘My heart was sore, and in my brain was neither quest nor purpose’: Physiological illness and fantastic visions in the fin-de-siècle novels of George MacDonald & Lewis Carroll”, The Victorian Roots of Modern Fantasy, The George MacDonald Society, Magdalen College, Oxford, August 2014.
- “‘How slight the line, if line there be’: Visual perception and (un-)reality in Victorian psychology and literature. ” British Society for Literature and Science Annual Conference, University of Surrey, Guildford, April 2014.
- “’It simply upsets the nerves’: Dreams, Spectres, Visions and the ‘English Connection’ in the Works of Ivan Turgenev and Fyodor Dostoevsky”. Cultural Cross-Currents, Birmingham City University, July 2013.
- “Dreaming Wonderland: The Construction of Imaginary Space in Victorian Children’s Literature.” Childhood and Space: Biennial Conference of the Society for the History of Children and Youth, University of Nottingham, June 2013.
- “Horrid King besmear’d with blood of human sacrifice: Man-consuming Machinery and Moloch as Dystopic Metaphor”, Cannibals, Cannibalism and Culture, University of Manchester, April 2013, Manchester.
- “Two worlds, so strangely one, yet so measurelessly wide apart: H.G. Wells’ and George MacDonald’s neurological adventures in wonderland.“ British Society for Literature and Science Conference, Cardiff University, April 2013, Cardiff .
- “Back to the Future: The traumatic Jet-lag of the Time-Traveller in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.” Dickens on the Move, , November 2012, Leipzig.
- “Upward and yet not Northward: Dream, Death and the Fourth Dimension in the Short Stories of H.G. Wells”. BOUNDARIES: University of Sheffield, School of English Postgraduate Colloquium, May 2012, Sheffield.
- “Into the XBOX and what Alice found there: American McGee’s Alice Madness Returns”. The Afterlife of Alice, Anthony Burgess Foundation, December 2011, Manchester.
Conference Panel Proposals:
- Round Table ‘Children’s Literature and Science’ (Presenters: Prof Laurence Talairach-Vielmas, Dr Melanie Keene, Dr Will Tattersdill, Dr Emily Alder, Kanta Dihal, Franziska Kohlt; Chair: Prof Martin Willis), British Society for Literature and Science Annual Conference, University of Bristol, 2017.
- “Fractured identities, fractured visions: Dreams of literary modernities” (Panellists: Dr Kirsty Mills, Franziska E Kohlt, Dr Adam Fergus), (Dis)Connected Forms: Narratives on the Fractured Self, University of Hull, 8-9 September, 2016.
- “Consuming Fantasy: Science, Psychology and the Supernatural in George MacDonald and Victorian Fantastic Literature” (Panellists: Rebecca Langworthy, Dr Kirsty Mills, Franziska E. Kohlt; Chair: Mark Richards), BAVS Conference 2016, Cardiff University.
- “Explaining the World: Science, Children’s Writing and the (In-)Explicable” (Panellists: Dr Melanie Keene, Franziska E. Kohlt, Kanta Dihal), Horrible Histories, Children’s History Society Inaugural Conference, King’s College London, 2016.
- “Alice, Science and Narrative” (Panellists: Dr Melanie Keene, Franziska E Kohlt, Joshua Phillips, Chair: Prof Farah Mendlesohn), Alice Through the Ages Conference, Homerton College, University of Cambridge, 15-17 September.
- “(Dis)Placing Madness: Negotiating the Boundaries in Nineteenth-Century Mental Sciences and Literature” (Panellists: Kalika Sands, Erin Lafford, Franziska E Kohlt, Chair: Dr Jane Darcy), 10th Annual Conference of the British Society of Literature and Science, University of Liverpool, April 2015.
- “Seeing Things: Aspects of Perception in Science and Literature” (Panelists: Dr Will Abberley, Franziska E Kohlt, Laura E Ludtke; Chair: Dr Rachel Crossland), 9th Annual Conference of the British Society of Literature and Science, University of Surrey, Guildford, April 2014.
- “Alice and Fashion Conference“, Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London, 9 May 2015 (Panelists include Prof Will Brooker, Dr Kiera Vaclavic and Mark Richards).
- “Thinking Ahead: 150 Years of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” – Alice’s Day 2014, The Story Museum, Oxford; Chair: Mari Prichard; Panelists: Tish Francis (Director Story Museum Oxford), Sarah Stanfield (Chairwoman of the Lewis Carroll Society), Franziska Kohlt (Lewis Carroll Society, University of Oxford).