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Dr Franziska E. Kohlt (SATSU)

BA, MA, DPhil (Oxon)

Postdoctoral Research Associate


After completing my undergraduate studies in Communication and Media Science, English and Journalism at Leipzig and Cardiff, and a Master’s in comparative literacy studies, I became fascinated with how we have told the stories of science.

My doctoral research explored the emergence of Psychology, and fantasy literature in the Victorian age as sister phenomena. I revisited the biographies of some who we now consider some of the most prominent fantasy writers of the age and their work and thinking as scientists, and how it was the language and imagination of fantasy that gave psychology – not only – its linguistic vehicles for making sciences breakthrough discoveries, including evolutionary psychology, or dreaming, imaginable and understandable to scientific and public communities well beyond their time. This illustrates the sociological function, and workings of imagination and fantasy in society in relation to our understanding of science.

I joined the university of York and the ECLAS project on Science and Religion narratives, where I have explored such themes in the communication surrounding the Covid-19 crisis, and how its influenced our understanding of the science of the virus, risk and how it influenced also our behaviours. I am currently exploring the effects of polarising narratives in the context of environment, ecology and AI.

Besides my academic work, I have with the Royal Entomological Society, to make relatable and understandable the impact of current mass extinction of insects, and with museums, schools and the media to demystify the presence AI and automation in society, exploring the long history the concerns connected to them, where they come from, and how much of that is routed in scientific reality, or narrative.

I have worked as a journalist (I have acted as correspondent for WDR Radio Germany on matters of Brexit and Covid-19), and as translator (amongst others for Marvel comics), and appear regularly as an expert and public speaker on radio and television.

I am the editor of The Lewis Carroll Review, and reviews editor for the British Society for Literature and Science, for which I am also an executive committee member.


Research interests

  • Science Communication
  • Sociology of Communication
  • Narrative Studies
  • History of Science
  • Science and Religion
  • Fantasy, Literature and Science in Society
  • Childhood Studies
  • Death Studies


My research is primarily interested in science, imagination, communication and society. I hold not only a scholarly interest but deep conviction crucial significance of storytelling and fantasy in our lives, but for that we first need to acknowledge its presence and mechanisms. 

My research publications cover the History of Science, especially psychology, literature, and its intersections with visual culture, from illustration to games and comics, Public Understanding of Science and Science Communication, Communication and Media Science, as well as literary and narrative studies.


Articles & Book Chapters:

  • ‘“Over by Christmas”: The impact of war-metaphors and other science-religion narratives on science communication environments during the Covid-19 crisis’ (2020), DOI: 10.31235/ [Preprint]
  • From Scotland to Utopia (via Hammersmith): William Morris, George MacDonald and the Utopian Ecological Aesthetic”(2019), Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies, Vol 8, Issue 2.
  • ‘In the Automated Eye of the Beholder: Automata in human culture, and the enduring myth of the modern Prometheus’ (2018), Marvellous Mechanical Museum (Compton Verney Press) (read here)
  • ‘“The stupidest tea-party in all my life” (2016): Lewis Carroll and Victorian Psychiatric Practice’, Journal of Victorian Culture, Vol 21, Issue 2.
  • ‘Back to the Future: The Time Traveller’s Traumatic Jet Lag in A Christmas Carol’ (2014), Dickens on the Move – Between Cultures and Continents, ed. Elmar Schenkel. (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang)


  • ‘When words are poison: Toxic narratives in health communication’ (2021), Toxic Cultures, ed. Simon Bacon (Oxford: Peter Lang)
  • ‘Following the science’ into the ‘war’ against a ‘devilish virus’: Religion, Language and Science Communication during Covid-19′, Record Covid-19: Historicising Experiences of the Pandemic, ed. by Kristopher Lovell (DeGruyter, 2021)
  • ‘What insects do you rejoice in?’ (2021): Lewis Carroll’s ecocriticism and environmental thought in Through the Looking-Glass, The Carollian: The Lewis Carroll Journal.
  • ‘E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Schwarze Romantik and nineteenth-century German Gothic’, The Palgrave Handbook of Gothic: Origins, The Palgrave Gothic Handbook, 3 vols, ed. by Clive Bloom (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan) (contracted; forthcoming 2020)
  • ‘Polluting the communication environments in ‘England’s Green And Pleasant Land”: Toxic Nostalgia and the misuses of memory in millennial British environmentalist narratives’, Gothic Nostalgia, ed. Simon Bacon (Palgrave, 2022).


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Contact details

Dr Franziska Kohlt
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Sociology LMB/234
University of York
YO10 5GD