University of Hertfordshire

Dr Samantha George

Samantha George

Dr Samantha George

Postal address:
University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
United Kingdom


2017 has been full of exciting projects. Here are just a few of the highlights from my research:

In September I was a researcher and panellist on the BBC World Service Programme on Dracula, 'The Forum', recorded on 5th September, 2017 with Dacre Stoker (great grand nephew of Bram Stoker). 

I enjoy feature writing and I published ‘How Long Have We Believed in Vampires’, in The Conversation, October 27th, 2017 for Hallowe'en. The article was taken up by Reuters and republished around the world.

November saw me convene  Redeeming the Wolf: A Story of Persecution, Loss and Rediscovery, at the prestigious Being Human Festival, led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. 

2018 is the bi-centenary of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and I am taking part in a number of celebratory activities with sixth formers and young people studying gothic literature (St Albans Abbey Theatre in February, Highgate School in March and University of London in May). 

In April OGOM and Supernatural Cities Present The Urban Weird, our fourth international symposia and gothic festival of events.

Books of Blood, a creative offshoot of OGOM will be touring from July, having debuted at the Being Human Festival: Objects Lost and Found.   

Further detailsc about me and my research:

I am Senior Lecturer in Literature in the School of Humanities. I am the convener of the popular Open Graves Open Minds project, the success of which has led to many opportunities for media interviews, plenary talks and public engagements. I am a writer of feature articles and a frequent commentator in the national, international and local press. I also blog about gothic literature on the Open Graves Open Minds site.

My research is very interdisciplinary, embracing eighteenth-century literature, women and science, natural history and gothic fiction. Within these disciplines I specialise in women in the culture of botany and the sexual system of plants, focussing on the interface between literature and science in the published works of early women botanists, entomologists and illustrators (including letters, dialogues and poetry).  In the area of gothic studies I explore vampire literature and culture, the representation of shapeshifters and other magical beings (particularly werewolves and wolf children), and the relationship between folklore and fiction. I am also interested in the growing field of young adult gothic writing. 

I am a reviewer of manuscripts (for Routledge, Broadview Press, MUP and Edinburgh University Press) and the former Reviews Editor for the Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies. I am an active member of the British Society of Literature and Science, the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the International Gothic Association. I have given over 30 conference papers and published widely on literature and science, folkloric and gothic literature. I have organised 3 international conferences (on vampires, Bram Stoker, and werewolves) and contributed to two exhibitions (Misdirect Movies and Poetic Botany). In 2017-18 I will co-curate the Books of Blood Exhibition and Festival in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust and the Science Museum.

I teach broadly in literature at undergraduate level and lead a pioneering course on Vampire Fiction for the Modern Literary Cultures MA Programme. I am an Associate Fellow of the HEA. I supervise PhD theses on the Byronic/Romantic Vampire; the Literary Werewolf; Twenty-First-Century American Vampire Fiction, together with an MPhil on Maternity and the Breast in Eighteenth-Century Literature. I welcome proposals from prospective PhD students on any area of eighteenth-century literature, literature and science, gothic studies or YA fiction.

The Quick Links Below Can Tell You More About Me and My Research:





Science and Literature

I am the author of Botany. Sexuality and Women’s Writing: From Modest Shoot to Forward Plant 1760-1830 (MUP, 2007) and the co-author of Botanising Women: Transmission, Translation and European Exchange (LSJ, 2011). I have published over 15 articles on women's writing and the cross fertilisation on literature and science in journals such as Comparative Critical Studies, Literature and Science, History of European Ideas etc and most recently Science and Education. I am currently completing a cultural history of the tulip for Reaktion books. My research into botanical literature by women has been drawn on in Melvyn Bragg’s ‘Women and Enlightenment Science’ programme for Radio 4 (In our Time 4th Nov 2010) and my article on Enlightenment Entomology for Girls was chosen by Wiley to represent the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day in 2012.  I am one of a small number of high profile contributors to Poetic Botany, a digital exhibition hosted by New York Botanical Gardens. The exhibition is inspired in part by my work on women’s botanical poetry and the sexual system of plants. You can view my biog and research for this project on the following link: http://www.nyborg/poetic-botany/contributors/.

Gothic Studies

I am the convenor of the Open Graves, Open Minds research project. OGOM was founded in 2010 and relates the undead in literature, art and other media to questions concerning gender, technology, consumption and social change. OGOM’s activities have been widely reported in the media, following a trilogy of high profile events:

2010 Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture 

2012 Bram Stoker Centenary Symposium

2015 Company of Wolves Festival 

OGOM has been prominent in the national, international and local press and it continues to enjoy a high level of impact and success. You can view some early video footage from the Wall Street Journal below:  

‘Vampires make it into Academia’, Open Graves, Open Minds video footage published in the Wall Street Journal, US, May 2010. 

And read my first interview in The Guardian:

‘Blood, Sweat and Fears: University Conference Sinks its Teeth into Vampire Fiction’, Sam George interviewed by Lucy Tobin, The Guardian newspaper (6th April, 2010)  

OGOMs 'Company of Wolves' werewolf conference in 2015 was broadcast on the BBC and other TV outlets. You can view my interviewed for BBC news and catch up on some of the other coverage below:

University to Host International Werewolf Conference’, Sam George interviewed by Laurence Cawley BBC News, 22nd August, 2015  

The BBC broadcast live coverage of the OGOM Company of Wolves conference, 4th September, 2015 ‘Werewolf Conference: The People Seeking ‘The Company of Wolves’

Ruptley TV make a video of OGOM Company of Wolves Conference now posted on Youtube, 3rd September, 2015 

International press coverage of this event included features in U.S. Smithsonian Magazine, Russia Today and The South China Post. In the UK the THES acknowledged the project as the first for a UK academy.

OGOM is supported by innovative and cutting edge research.

My Publications for OGOM Include:

Open Graves, Open Minds: Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day (MUP, 2013)

‘Undead Reflections: The Sympathetic Vampire and its Monstrous Other’ OGOM Special Issue of Gothic Studies, 15.1 (2013).

I have also contributed to The Vampire Goes to College: Essays on Teaching With the Undead (McFarland, 2014).

Company of Wolves: Werewolves, Shapeshifters and Feral Humans is forthcoming in 2017,  together with another  Gothic Studies Special Issue ‘Wolves, Werewolves and Wildness’.

Publications in Progress

A monograph is underway on the history of the vampire's reflection and the representation of the shadow in fiction, folklore, fairy tale and early film. I am also completing a book to accompany my level six YA module: Generation Dead: Young Adult Fiction and the Gothic. I have articles and chapters forthcoming on wolf children, the representation of Transylvania in British undead fiction, Romanian folklore, and the history of the literary vampire. 


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