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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2019/20 Dr. Katharina Boehm

Dr. Katharina Boehm

University of Regensburg
English Literature
Junior Fellow
October 2013 - July 2014


My research mainly concerns 18th and 19th century British literature and the history of science. I studied English, German and Comparative Literary Studies at the Albert‐Ludwigs‐Universität Freiburg and the University of Kent at Canterbury, and took my MA in Comparative Literature in 2006. 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 first monograph, Charles Dickens and the Sciences of Childhood (2013), builds on my doctoral research and has just been published.

My current home institution is the Department of English and American Studies at the Universität Regensburg. I have been on research leave since October 2012 and before coming to the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies I spent a year as VolkswagenStiftung Postdoctoral Fellow at Rutgers University. At Rutgers, I started work on my current research project on eighteenth-century antiquarian cultures and the global imagination.


Selected Publications

  • Charles Dickens and the Sciences of Childhood: Popular Medicine, Child Health and Victorian Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
  • Ed. and intro. Bodies and Things in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
  • ‘Historiography and the Material Imagination in the Novels of Sarah Waters’, Studies in the Novel 43.2 (2011), 237-57.
  • Co-ed. and intro [with J. McDonagh]. Urban Mobility: New Maps of Victorian London (= New Agenda issue of Journal of Victorian Culture 15.2 (2010))
  • ‘Charles Dickens, the Social Mission of Pediatrics, and the Great Ormond Hospital for Sick Children’, Victorian Review 35.1 (2009), 115-35.


FRIAS Research Project

Tangible Pasts: Literature, the Material Histories of Antiquarianism and the Global Imagination, 1720-1820

My project explores how eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century antiquaries and literary writers placed antiquities and other material relics of Britain’s past in a global context. Literary and antiquarian authors navigated the same marketplace, wrote in similar genres and engaged in related aesthetic and historical debates. Together, they developed new modes of thinking about Britain’s material past – modes that were profoundly shaped by an emerging awareness of global relations and exchanges. Comparative methods of studying antiquities became more widespread as Britain’s commercial relations and colonial reach expanded. My project asks in particular how notions of (global and local) space and historical time intersected in the antiquarian and literary imagination and gave rise to novel ideas about historical distance and proximity, modernity and ephemerality.

The project builds on archival research in Great Britain and the United States. Besides studying published and unpublished texts by literary writers and antiquaries, I am also looking at periodical essays, diaries, letters, visual material, original eighteenth-century collections of antiques and historical ephemera, and at the papers of the London Society of Antiquaries, the Scottish Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Asiatic Society.