University of Hertfordshire

Dr Samantha George

Samantha George

Dr Samantha George

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

Expertise

Commercial and public engagement

2017 and 2018 have been full of exciting projects. Here are just a few of the highlights from my research:

2018 was the bi-centenary of the publication of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and I took 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). I was an invited speaker on ‘Vampire Slaying’ at ‘Living Frankenstein’ an immersive theatre event at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, 23 May 2018,  The most successful elements of this show, including my vampires talk, then toured to the Bath Literary Festival 

In April OGOM and Supernatural Cities Presented The Urban Weird, our fourth International symposia and gothic festival of events. Books of Blood, a creative offshoot of OGOM prepared to go on tour after having debuted at the Being Human Festival: Objects Lost and Found.

In October I researched and co-led a Gothic Tour of St Albans with the OGOM project, exploring the city’s magical and supernatural history in collaboration with St Albans Abbey for Hallowe’en, October, 2018. This received blanket coverage in the local press 

In the summer I took part in ‘Battle of the Books: Dracula V Frankenstein’ with prize winning writer Marcus Sedgwick at the Edinburgh Book Festival, August, 2018. The event was keenly anticipated and featured in a number of Scottish newspapers. 

To celebrate the publication of The Monsters We Deserve, a reappraisal of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, I went head to head with prizewinning author Marcus Sedgwick in part two of Battle of the Books, Frankenstein v. Dracula. Conway Hall, London, 4th September, 2008. The enormous public response to these events has been recorded in 2 Twitter ‘Moments’: Dracula V Frankenstein: Part One  and Dracula V Frankenstein: Part Two. 

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. 

 

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 4 international conferences (on vampires, Bram Stoker, werewolves, and the Urban Weird) 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 a Fellow of the HEA. I have supervised PhD theses on the Byronic/Romantic Vampire; the Literary Werewolf; Twenty-First-Century American Vampire Fiction.  I welcome proposals from prospective PhD students on any area of literature and science, gothic studies or YA fiction.

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

Blog:  http://www.opengravesopenminds.com/blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrSamGeorge1

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samantha_George

Academia: http://herts.academia.edu/SamGeorge

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. 

 

Teaching specialisms

I teach Enlightenment, Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Period literature together with the Gothic and postgraduate studies in 'Reading the Vampire'. Much of my teaching focuses on the literary representation of the child or adolescent ('The Romantic Child' (level 6)  ‘Generation Dead: Young Adult Fiction and the Gothic’ (level 6). I also teach Research Methods at MA level and lead the MA dissertation module. I have supervised PhD theses to completion on the Literary Werewolf; Twenty-First-Century American Vampire Fiction. I  currently have 3 PhD students working on gothic projects. I am a Fellow of the HEA.

Commercial and public engagement

The Open Graves, Open Minds Research Project has its own website, blog, Twitter Feed and Facebook group. I am a regular blogger on the site and to date we have had over 100,000 hits (website pseudonym Lucy Northerner). ww.opengravesopenminds.com is now the first stop for gothic scholars and has been celebrated for its services to gothic studies.

I convened the Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture Conference at the University of Hertfordshire in April 2010. I spoke about the Open Graves, Open Minds project and the vogue for vampires more broadly on a number of radio stations (BBC Three Counties Radio, Rock Radio, ABC Radio Australia, CBC Radio Montreal, BBC Belfast, etc.) and gave interviews in the local, national and international press from The Guardian tothe Times Higher Educational Supplement, The Wall Street Journal and the Welwyn and Hatfield Times.

‘University Conference Sinks its Teeth into Vampire fiction’, The Guardian newspaper (6th April, 2010)  http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/apr/06/vampire-conference-literature-hertfordshire

‘Vampires make it into Academia’, Open Graves, Open Minds video footage published in the Wall Street Journal, US, May 2010.  http://online.wsj.com/video/vampires-make-it-into-academia/6637172C-B540-492D-A169-BD546CD238F1.html

 ‘Reading the Vampire’, Sam George interviewed by Karen Edwards, Fine Books and Collections, Summer 2010, 8.2, 22-24. http://www.finebooksmagazine.com/issue/0802/index.phtml

I participated in a ‘Behind the Screen’ series of events, presented in association with BAFTA that complemented their open-air Film 4 Summer Screen Season. The panel was entitled ‘From Nosferatu to Twilight: The Immortal Appeal of the Vampire’ (7th August, Somerset House). 

I took part in a panel entitled ‘Vampire Literature: The Crisis in Being Human’, at the Battle of Ideas, Royal College of Art, October, 2010. http://www.battleofideas.org.uk/index.php/2010/session_detail/4099/

I am interviewed by Simon Midgley at the Times Newspaper about bringing vampires into the curriculum and developing the ‘Reading the Vampire: Science, Sexuality and Alterity in Modern Culture’ MA module at the University of Hertfordshire, ‘Counting on Dracula’, The Times, Wed, 16th March 2011

I was interviewed for The Book Show for Sky Arts (a studio based programme, presented by Mariella Frostrup). In addition to being interviewed I contributed to a short film on vampire literature to be shown in relation to a programme on Anne Rice.

I introduced an exclusive screening of Nosferatu with live contemporary score by Minima for UH Arts, November 2011 

I convened the OGOM Bram Stoker Centenary Symposium at Keats House, Hampstead. Coverage appeared in the local Hatfield and St Albans press, Camden and London papers, The Independent, The Times, The Telegraph, The THES and a selection of the talks were podcast in The Guardian (April 2012) http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/audio/2012/apr/27/dracula-horror-bram-stoker-podcast. The symposium also included a visit to the Golder’s Green Crematorium where Stoker’s ashes are interred. Delegates were joined by Sir Christopher Frayling, members of The Dracula Society, Dacre Stoker and Prof. Elizabeth Miller. The visit was covered by The Telegraph and The Guardian and video footage posted online (you can view this here: http://implausibleblog.com/2012/04/23/bram-stoker-centenary-symposium/)

I am commissioned to write an article on the contemporary vampire for The Sun newspaper, ‘Let’s Give Vampires Their Teeth Back’, appeared as a double page spread, April 28th 2012.

I am invited by the Society of Young Publishers to speak about genres of vampire fiction and teaching Gothic texts in the academy in relation to the OGOM project, Gothic Publishing: Going for the Throat, The Old Town Hall, Oxford, 29th October, 2012

I deliver a talk entitled ‘Why don’t vampires cast reflections and other undead questions’ at the Museum of St Albans, 22nd May 2013 to tie in with the exhibition This is Goth: Exploring Goth Culture past and Present 25th April-26th May 2013 www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk

I interview Sir Christopher Frayling, Governor of the BFI, The British Library, April 22nd, 2013 (published in the Misdirect Movies book launched at Cornerhouse in September 2013 http://www.cornerhouse.org/books/books-events/book-launch-misdirect-movies in connection with a recent exhibition on literature and film http://misdirectmovies.co.uk/

I am invited to be an advisor for a new BBCTV production on Stoker and Wilde (July, 2013)

I am interviewed by Laurence Cawley at the BBC for an article entitled ‘Seven of the Most Unusual Areas of University Research http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-24363025 (26th November, 2013)

I am invited to present on the OGOM book at the Hertfordshire Libraries Literature Festival in February 2014

‘On Camera’ interview for producer Christina Hacopian on behalf of Warner Bros. Documentary for the film Interview with a Vampire, for it’s 20th anniversary Blu Ray DVD release.

I appear with Dr Catherine Spooner and writer Matt Beresford at a Gothic Literature Evening, St Albans Literature, Festival, The Old Gatehouse, St Albans (November 7th, 2014) http://www.stalbansliteraryfestival.co.uk/content/open-graves-and-open-minds-gothic-writing-evening

I convene the OGOM Company of Wolves conference and Festival at the University of Hertfordshire. I am interviewed by Laurence Cawley on the BBC, ‘University to Host International Werewolf Conference’, 22nd August, 2015 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-33971546

The BBC broadcast live coverage of the OGOM Company of Wolves conference, 4th September, 2015 ‘Werewolf Conference: The People Seeking ‘The Company of Wolves’
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-34144752

Ruptley TV make a video of OGOM Company of Wolves Conference now posted on Youtube, 3rd September, 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvnJozsf_cM

Kathryn Hughes, responds to coverage of the ‘Company of Wolves’ conference in The Guardian, 30th August, 2015,In our dog-eat-dog world, it’s time for werewolves’ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/30/werewolves-scarcity-fear-vampires-sexual-anxiety

I am interviewed in The Independent for a featureon the‘Company of Wolves’ conference, September 4th,  2015 ‘Werewolf conference will see academics shine a light on folkloric shapeshifter’ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/werewolf-conference-will-see-academics-shine-a-light-on-folkloric-shapeshifters-10477155.htm

The Daily Mail reports on the ‘Company of Wolves’ conference, 29th August, 2015, ‘What big teeth you have!’: Monsters invade the classroom at University of Hertfordshire for the UK’s only werewolf conference http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3215436/Monsters-invade-University-Hertfordshire-UK-s-werewolf-conference.html

The Guardian features news of the ‘Company of Wolves’ conference, 21st August, 2015
‘The howl truth: scholars get packing for UK werewolf conference’ http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/aug/21/werewolf-conference-university-hertfordshire-transform-opinion-mythical-shapeshifters

I am interviewed in the Times Higher Education Supplement about the OGOM project and conference, ‘Werewolf conference billed as first for UK Academy’ 31st August, 2015 https://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/werewolf-conference-billed-first-uk-academy

Marissa Fessenden interviews me for the Smithsonian Magazine 24th August, 2015, There’s a Conference in the U.K. All About Werewolves’ http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/theres-conference-uk-all-about-werewolves-180956370/#mJjfTj9Gx8ICBShv.99 (the feature has had over 4, 000 shares).

South China Morning Post reports on our ‘Company of Wolves’ conference,  24th August, 2015, ‘Werewolf conference aims to transform opinion on mythical shapeshifters
http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1851839/itll-be-howler-werewolf-conference-aims-transform-opinion-mythical; Russia Today reports on the research that has led to the conference, 21st August, 2015, ‘Werewolf conference to debate ‘complex’ history of mythical creature’http://www.rt.com/uk/313054-werewolf-conference-scholars-history/

Global coverage of the project’s research appears in University World News, 5th September 2015Issue No380, ‘Scholars get packing for UK Werewolf Conference’ http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20150905072219991

 I appear on ITV This Morning’s ‘History of Horror’ on Frankenstein with Charlie Higson, Prof. William Hughes and Sir Chris Frayling, 9th November, 2015  http://www.itv.com/thismorning/showbiz/charlie-higson-history-of-horror-frankenstein

I introduce Herzog’s Nosferatu at UH ARTS BloodLust season of public screenings of vampire films, October 19th, 2016

I give a public talk on the subject of the Gothic North at Manchester Gothic Festival 21st October 2016 http://ilovemanchester.com/2016/10/21/ghosts-monsters-and-werewolves-manchester-goes-gothic.aspx The Yorkshire Post and the Hull Daily Mail publish features based around my talk. 

I take part in The Conversation and write ‘Why We Should Welcome the Return of Old Stinker the English Werewolf’ The Conversation, October 30th, 2016 https://theconversation.com/why-we-should-welcome-the-return-of-old-stinker-the-english-werewolf-67797

I am currently the co-curator of an exhibition on blood as symbol and text in modern culture in collaboration with the Wellcome Institute and the Science Museum. ‘Books of Blood’ will launch in Limerick in 2017-18 and tour to venues in London and the South West including medical museums and galleries.