Dr. Zoë Lehmann Imfeld

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin / Stellvertretung Prof. Dr. Richter

Modern English Literature

B 263
Postal Address
Department of English
Länggassstr. 49
CH – 3012 Bern
Consultation Hour
Office hours during term time are Mondays 2.30-3.30pm, by appointment only.
Remote appointments via zoom are also possible if preferred.

Dr Zoë Lehmann Imfeld is a lecturer in modern English literature at the university of Bern, and a senior lecturer in English literature at the university of Zurich. She is currently working on a postdoctoral project on the hermeneutics of space research in science-fiction narratives, after being a Mileva Maric Fellow at the Center for Space and Habitability (exact sciences), University of Bern. She completed her PhD thesis in 2015, which was published in 2016 as The Victorian Ghost Story and Theology: From Le Fanu to James by Palgrave MacMillan (Springer-Verlag). Her thesis was awarded the SNF Marie Heim-Vögtlin Prize in 2016. In 2017 Zoë was a visiting fellow at the Center of Theological Enquiry, Princeton, as part of the NASA-funded project ‘Inquiry on the Societal Implications of Astrobiology’.

Research Interests

Literature and theology, literature and philosophy, literature and science, science fiction, fictionality, the long 19th-century.

Monographs and Edited Volumes

Our Common Cosmos: Exploring the Future of Theology, Human Culture and Space Sciences , ed. By Zoë Lehmann Imfeld and Andreas Losch (London: Bloomsbury, 2019) (primary editor)

The Victorian Ghost Story and Theology, monograph (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

Theology and Literature after Postmodernism, ed. by Zoë Lehmann Imfeld, Peter Hampson, Alison Milbank. Multi-author volume. (London: Bloomsbury, 2015) (primary editor)


Journal Articles and Contributions to Edited Collections

‘Visualizing the Unseen in the Victorian Ghost Story’, in Literature and the Senses, ed. by Annette Kern-Stähler and Elizabeth Robertson, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press)

‘Have We Forgotten How to Have Fun in Literature and Science?’, Anglistik: International Journal of English Studies, 32:3(2021) pp. 121 – 134, https://angl.winter-verlag.de/article/ANGL/2021/3/11

‘Review of the book: British Women’s Short Supernatural Fiction, 1860-1930’, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, Winter 2020, http://w.ncgsjournal.com/issue163/imfeld.htm

‘“The incalculable potency of community”’: The Role of Science Fiction in Religion and Science’, Philosophy, Theology and Science, 2019, 6:2, 148-163

‘Faith, Doubt and the Fin de Siècle’, in Horror and Religion: New Approaches to Theology, Race and Sexuality, ed. by Eleanor Beal and Jon Greenaway (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2019), 57-74

‘Imagination as Co-Creation: Science and theology through the lens of literature’, in Our Common Cosmos: Exploring the Future of Theology, Human Culture and Space Sciences, (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), 125-140

‘Our Common Cosmos: Exploring the future of theology, human culture and planetary sciences’, with Andreas Losch, in Our Common Cosmos: Exploring the Future of Theology, Human Culture and Space Sciences, (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), 1-8

‘Hospitable Conversations in Theology and Literature: Re-Opening a Space to be Human’, with Peter Hampson and Alison Milbank, in Theology and Literature after Postmodernism (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), 1-14

‘Thrashing between exoneration and excoriation’: Creating Narratives in We Need to Talk about Kevin’, in Theology and Literature after Postmodernism, (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), 179-194

 ‘Interview and Conversation with John Milbank and Simon Oliver: Radical Orthodoxy & Christian Psychology I - Theological Underpinnings’, with Peter Hampson, Edification: The Transdisciplinary Journal of Christian Psychology, 2013, vol. 6.1, 44-52

 ‘Interview and Conversation with Conor Cunningham and Aaron Riches: Radical Orthodoxy & Christian Psychology II - Ontological Naturalism and Christology’, with Peter Hampson, Edification: The Transdisciplinary Journal of Christian Psychology, 2013, vol. 6.1, 53-61

‘Review of the Book: A People of One Book: The Bible and the Victorians, by Timothy Larsens’, New Blackfriars Review, March 2012, vol. 93

‘Review of the Book: British Romanticism and the Catholic Question: Religion, History and National Identity, 1778-1829, by Michael Tomko’, New Blackfriars Review, January 2012, vol. 93

‘Hybridity and Duality in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children’, Muse India, 25(2009)

‘The Colonial Other in E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India’, Quest, Postgraduate Journal of Queen’s University Belfast, 5(2007) 85-96


Conference Papers and Invited Lectures

‘Ogbanje: Using Cultural Identity to Reimagine Human Lifespans in Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater’, ESSE Mainz, 29th August-2nd September 2022

‘Using Possible-Worlds Fiction to Mediate Knowledge Production in the Exact Sciences: Different worlds and different lives in Nina Allen’s science fiction’, British Society of Literature and Science Annual Conference, online, 7th-9th April 2022

‘Narratives of Human Inheritance in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time and Children of Ruin’, British Society of Literature and Science Annual Conference, online, 7th-9th April 2021

‘Language and Textual Metaphysics in Science Fiction’, British Society of Literature and Science Annual Conference, Royal Holloway University of London, 4-6th April 2019

‘Our Common Cosmos: A Science-Fiction Story?’, Religion and Science- Friend or For or Unrelated, Theologie, Philosophie, Naturwissenschaft, University of Zurich 28th-29th September 2018

‘Techniques of Cognitive Estrangement from Gothic to Science Fiction’, Techniken der Fantastik/Techniques du fantastique, University of Fribourg, 5th-9th Sepember 2018

‘A literary scholar’s journey into space: Performing literary research in an astrophysics department’, British Society of Literature and Science Annual Conference, Oxford Brookes University, 5th-7th April 2018

 ‘Empathy in Science-Fiction Studies’, with Claudine Bollinger, Narrative Empathy Workshop, Empathies: SLSAeu Conference, University of Basel, 20th-24th June 2017

‘Changing Disciplinary Perspectives: A literary scholar’s journey into space research’, SAUTE Conference2017: The challenge of change in English language and literature, University of Neuchatel, 28th-29th April 2017

‘Exchanging Hermeneutics: Is there a role for Scientific methodologies in literary scholarship?’, Center of Theological Enquiry, Princeton, 20th April 2017

‘Rethinking Fictions: Literature as Scientific Hermeneutics’, Collegium Generale, Münchenwiler, 31st March 2017

‘Sheridan Le Fanu and the gothic ghost story’, University of Zürich, 30th November 2016

Doctor Who, Aliens and Alienation’, NECPA conference, Keene State University, 21st-22nd October 2016

‘Fiction beyond Fictionality: Using Scientific Modelling to Read Science Fiction’, British Society of Literature and Science Annual Conference, University of Birmingham, 7th-9th April 2016

Invited chair: ‘Thresholds of Imagination’, cross-faculty seminar, University of Maynooth, Ireland, 31st March 2016

Invited: discussion panel, ‘Eine Reise von Kopernikus zur modernen Exoplaneten-Forschung Revolution im Weltall’, Deus Academicus, University of Bern, 4th December 2015

‘Nineteenth-Century Science Fiction and the Language of Romanticism’, Poetics of Knowledge, Bern, 5th-7th November 2015

‘The Almost Person: Myth, Narrative and The Doctor’, PCA/ACA International Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, 22-24 July, 2015

‘Using the Ghost Story for a Participatory Theory of Reading’, 2014 Mideast Regional Meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature: “The Imagination, Participation, and Co-Creation”, Patrick Henry College, Purcellville, VA,31st October- 1st November 2014

‘Narratives of being in We Need to Talk about Kevin’, Re-Imagining Human: The 17th Biennial Conference for the International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture, University of Leuven, 18th-20th September 2014

‘“I am not playing a part, I am the part”: Self-Actualisation as Myth Creation in Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin’, Creating Myths as Narratives of Empowerment and Disempowerment, 10th-13th March 2014, University of Jendouba, Tunisia

‘The Porous World of the Victorian Ghost Story’, Working with A Secular Age -Interdisciplinary Reflections on Charles Taylor’s Conception of the Secular, University of Bern, 6-8th March 2014

‘Sharing a Post-Modern Religious Experience’, The Hospitable Text: New Approaches to Religion & Literature, Journal of Religion and Literature, 14-16 July 2011, London


Outreach activities/General Media

‘Science Fiction: It’s Awesome’, Astronomy on Tap, Bern 16th May 2019, astronomyontap.org

‘Science Fiction and Astrobiology at CTI’, Fresh Thinking: The Magazine of the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, Spring 2018 (Journal article, not peer reviewed)

‘Kummituksia, avaruusaluksia ja teologiaa’ [Ghosts, Spacecraft and Theology], Areopagi, Finland 8.2017 (Journal article, not peer reviewed)

9.3.17 ‘Earth-like exoplanets – Planets around the dwarf star TRAPPIST-1’, public panel discussion, University of Bern, with Prof. Kevin Heng, Prof. Brice-Oliver Demory, Prof. Yann Alibert, Laurence Suhner.

13.2.17, Wissentschaftscafé Thun, ‘Gibt es ausserirdischen Leben?’, public panel discussion, with Prof. Claus Beisbart, Prof. Willy Benz (www.science-et-cite.ch)

‘Monster als Haustier’, UniPress, February 2017, 12-13, with Claudine Bollinger

6.10.16, Berner Zeitung, Interview – ‘Gespensterforscherin hilft Astrophysikern auf die Sprünge’ (Urs Wüthrich)

18.10.16, Fresh Thinking Podcast, Interview – (Joshua Maudlin) CTI Princeton

30.7.16, SRF, Interview - ‘Die Geschichten mit der Angst: Schauerliteratur’ (Christa Miranda)

27.7.16, Swissinfo.ch, Interview – ‘Reclaiming the Supernatural’ (Celia Luterbacher)

20.6.16, Le Temps, Interview – ‘Les fantômes se font hanter aussi’ (Nic Ulmi)

1.6.16, Tages Anzeiger, Interview – ‘Spezialistin für das Grauen’ (Irene Dietschi), also appeared in Der Bund, Basler Zeitung