Kai Tan

wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin



PhD Project

"Encountering Psychogeographical Literary Moments: Readers' Affective Enactment in Contemporary British Novels (2000-)”
Grade: Summa cum laude
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Jan Alber, RWTH Aachen, and Prof. Dr. Ralf Schneider, RWTH Aachen

Research Interests

Cognitive Approaches to Literature and Culture
Social Cognition and Embodied Cognition, especially Affective Enactivism
Contemporary British Fiction, Urban Studies, Sociology and Psychogeography
Intersectionality, Disability Studies and Feminist Approaches
Space and Postcolonial Writings
Literary and Critical Theory
Modernist Writings and the Philosophy of Mind
Culture and Politics in Football and Comedies

Academic C.V.

04/2017 – 08/2023
Research and Teaching Assistant in the Chair of Cognitive Literary Studies, RWTH Aachen
Supervisor for Erstatzleistungen

09/2015 – 03/2017
Research Assistant at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies

01/2015 – 03/2015
Research Assistant for the DFG-funded project FA 2153/1‐1 “CCTV beyond Surveillance”, Albert Ludwig University Freiburg

10/2013 – 09/2016
Master in English Literatures and Literary Studies, Albert Ludwig University Freiburg

10/2005 – 09/2006
Exchange programme (Philosophy and English Literature), Albert Ludwig University Freiburg

08/2003 – 07/2007
Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy and English Literature), National University of Singapore


Papers Presented

09/2023 Chair of Panel "Familiar Strangeness: Identity, Boundaries, History and Narrative Forms." The British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies "What Happens Now" (BACLS-WHN) 2023 Conference, Old Gymnasium Building University of Birmingham and online, 06 and 08 September 2023 (respectively).

06/2023 “Grounded ‘Utopia’, or the Speculation of Possibilities: A Blending of Pasts, Presents and Futures.” Mini-Symposium for Council of European Studies (CES), Europe’s Past, Present, and Future. Utopias and Dystopias, Discussant for [126] Constructions: City Planning Between Renewal and Nostalgia - Panel 1, Reykjavik, Iceland, 27-29 June 2023.

01/2023 "Intersectionality and Multisensory Experiences: Affective Enactment in Literary Urban Studies and Effects on City Planning." MLA Conference 2023, Special Session 519: Literary Urban Studies and City Planning, San Francisco, 05-08 January 2023.

09/2022 "Projecting Places in Narratives and Creating Literary Cartography through Affective Enaction." Spatial Humanities 2022, Het Pand, Ghent, Belgium, 07-09 September 2022.

10/2021 "Enacting Londons: Audience Migration and Engagement in Transmedia Psychogeographical Storytelling." 6th Narrative, Media and Cognition (Zoom Conference): RECONFIGURATIONS: "New Narrative Challenges in Moving Images", Theatre and Film School of the Lisbon Polytechnic Institute, with the WG of the Audiovisual Narratives of AIM - The Moving Image Association, Portugal, 14-16 October 2021. [online]

04/2021 "Enacting Encounters with Psychogeographical Literary Moments (PLMs)." Young Researchers Conference: Narratives of Body and Mind, RWTH Aachen, Germany, 08-09 April 2021. [online]

01/2021 "Producing Narratives and Changing Worldviews: What is it like for readers to experience psychogeographical literary moments (PLMs) in contemporary British urban narratives (2000-present)?" Groningen | Twente Winter School on Narrative: Narrative and Knowledge 2021, 18-22 January 2021. [online]

03/2019 "Immersion and Narrated Environments: Creating Heterotopia through Slow Reading." Nordic Summer University Circle 7 Artistic Research | Performing Heterotopia Winter Symposium 2019 Departures, Deviations and Elsewheres, European Humanities University, Vilnius, 07-10 March 2019.

02/2019 "Unearthing Simultaneity in Urban Narratives: Iain Sinclair’s Dining on Stones or, the Middle Ground (2004) and China Miéville’s The City & The City (2009)." Association of Literary Urban Studies (ALUS) Symposium - Simultaneity in the City, University of Duisburg-Essen, 15 February 2019.

04/2018 "Narrative Space in Urban Studies and Psychogeographical Writings: A Proposed Study of (Embodied) Metaphors as Triggers of Recipient Emotions." 2018 International Conference in Narrative, McGill University, 19-22 April 2018.

03/2018 "Reader Situatedness and Embodied Spatial Experiences: Literary Psychogeographical Moments in Will Wiles’s The Care of Wooden Floors." You Are Here: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Place, Space, and Embodiment, Creighton University, 23-24 March 2018.

08/2017 "Walking/Reading. Experiencing Urban Spaces through Metaphors in Twenty-First-Century British Psychogeographical Novels." Summer Course in Narrative Study (SINS), Aarhus University, 30 July-04 August 2017.


08/2023 "Queer Second Cities Conference." University of Freiburg and University of Surrey, 30-31 August 2023. [online]

04/2023 “Navigating Intersectional Realities through Smart Urbanism: Gender, Media and Design.” Utrecht University, 12 April 2023.

2021/2022 Fringe “Non-Sexist City” Reading Group. [online]

02/2022 "Hipsters and Gentrifiers: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Culture" City Scripts, 16 February 2022. [online]

01/2022 Aston Stylistics Research Seminar Group Series: Billy Clark, "Relevance, Transactions and Literariness." Aston Literary Linguistics, 19 January 2022. [online]

2021 Narrare Reading Group [online]

11/2021 "Publishing in Academic Journals." BACLS Virtual Seminar Series, 26 November 2021. [online]

11/2021 Aston Stylistics Research Seminar Group Series: Ralf Schneider, "Responding to Multiple-Character Scenarios in Prose Fiction: Narrative Engagement Beyond Immersion and Identification – Towards a New Theory." Aston Literary Linguistics, 17 November 2021. [online]

11/2021 "International Workshop on Narrative Engagement: The Multidisciplinary Foundations of Storyworld Possible Selves." Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) Funded Workshop, 11-12 November 2021. [online]

10/2021 "Interfaces of First- and Second-Generation Approaches in Cognitive Literary Studies." 2nd ACCELS Workshop, RWTH Aachen, 07-08 October 2021. [online]

09/2021-22 "New Perspectives on Narrative." Narrare Reading Group 2021.

09/2021 "Ecologies of Fear." BACLS-WHN Virtual Conference 2021, 02-03 September 2021. [online]

07/2021 "Sensing the City | Place, People, Power." RC21 Conference, 14-16 July 2021. [online]

03/2021 "We are Wales: Disparate Voices, Landscapes and Stories." British Council Literature Seminar, 4-6 March 2021. [online]

05/2021 "Textu(r)alities: Semiotics, Bodies, Texts." International Conference, Università degli studi di Napoli, 28 May 2021. [online]

03/2021 "We are Wales: Disparate Voices, Landscapes and Stories." British Council Literature Seminar, 4-6 March 2021. [online]

01/2021 Association of Literary Urban Studies, Annual General Meeting and Presentations. [online]

12/2020 "A New Poetics of Space: Literary Walks in Times of Pandemics and Climate Change." Online Conference, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden, 07 December 2020. [online]

11/2020 "Subversive Semantics in Political and Cultural Discourse." International Symposium, Rostock University, Rostock, 12-14 November 2020. [online]

11/2020 "Covid-19 and the Transformation of Migration and Mobility Globally." International Organization for Migration, Research Webinar Series, 11 November 2020.

10/2020 "Interdisciplinary Workshop The Study of Literature, Reading, and Cognition: Interdisciplinary Approaches, Concepts, and Terms." ACCELS Workshop, RWTH Aachen, 50-06 October 2020. [online]

09/2019 Fourth World Congress of Psychogeography, "Psychogeography is...", Huddersfield University, Dewsbury, and Marsden, 06-08 September 2019.

02/2018 "Urban Walking – The Flâneur as an Icon of Metropolitan Culture in Literature and Other Media." Friedrich-Schiller Universität Jena, 09-10 March 2018.

09/2017 "European Narratology Network 5 | Narrative & Narratology - Metamorphosing the Structures" and Preconference Seminar, Czech Technical University, Prague, 13-15 September 2017.

Workshops/Training Schools

11/2022 UIA Associations Roundtable Europe 2022, Rotterdam, 24-25 November 2022.

03/2021 "Building Bridges: Activists and Cultural Researchers in Conversation." Research Area 8: Cultures of Knowledge, Research, and Education, GCSC, JLU Giessen, 09-12 March 2021. [online]

10/2020 "The Study of Literature, Reading, and Cognition: Interfaces and Translations." ACCELS (Online), RWTH Aachen University, 05-06 October 2020. [online]

09/2020 "'Connecting the Dots’: Conceptualising 'Trace' in the Nexus of Novels and Readers' Sensory Imaginings." International Online Workshop, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, 24-25 September 2020.

08/2018 IGEL Training School in Empirical Methods in Literary Scholarship, RWTH University of Aachen, 27-30 August 2018.

06/2018 "Cognitive Literary Studies and the Test of Time: Narrative, Speed, Experience. A Second-Generation Workshop." Het Pand, Ghent University, Ghent, 11 June 2018.


Seminar/Übung: Practical Introduction to Literary Studies 1 (SoSe 23)
​Seminar/Übung: Practical Introduction to Literary Studies 2 (SoSe 23)
Seminar: 20th-21st-Century Asian American Literature (WS 22/23)
Seminar/Übung: Practical Introduction to Literary Studies (SoSe 2022)
Seminar/Übung: Applications of Periods of English and American Literature (WS 21/22)
Seminar: Intermediality and Narratives (SoSe 21) [online]
Seminar: Contemporary British Writings (WS 20/21) [online]
Seminar: Psychogeography and Embodiment (SoSe 20) [online]
Seminar/Übung: Applications of Periods of English and American Literature (WS 19/20)
Seminar/Übung: Practical Introduction to Literary Studies (SoSe 2019)
​Seminar: British Drama (1945-Present) (WS 18/19)
Seminar/Übung: Applications of Periods of English and American Literature (WS 18/19)
Seminar: Space and Culture (SoSe 18)
Seminar/Übung: Practical Introduction to Literary Studies (SoSe 18)
Seminar: The Big House in Anglo-Irish Novels (WS 17/18)
Seminar: Representations of London in Contemporary British Literature (SoSe 17)


Nov 2020- "Psychogeography in Aachen: Localised Psychogeographical Practices to Unfold Possibilities in Aachen and its Surroundings." URL: [ongoing]

WS 2020/2021-WS 2022/2023 "What is it like for readers to experience psychogeographical literary moments (PLMs) in contemporary British urban narratives (2000-present)?"

SoSe 2018-SoSe 2023 Proposal of of “ELS Participant Recruitment Platform and Database.”

WS 2019/2020 "A Study on Reader Emotion." (With Prof. Dr. Ralf Schneider and ELiLi Team Members Deborah Comoth and Miriam-Eva Staudacher)

WS 2018/2019 "Reader Reception to Descriptions of Settings in Narratives." (With ELiLi Team Members: Tugce Gülyaz, Jessica Hobbach, Camilla Krzyzek, and Francesca Wessing)
An exploratory empirical study to find out how readers respond to descriptions of settings in narratives. Attention is paid to affective enactivism, gestures, and the usage of metaphors as part of cognitive processes / sense-making of narrated worlds.
Team Members from Empirical Linguistics and Literary Studies - Advanced Empirical Methods: Tugce Gülyaz, Jessica Hobbach, Camilla Krzyzek, and Francesca Wessing


Member of the Aachen Center for Cognitive and Empirical Literary Studies (ACCELS)
Member and contact person in case of ethical misconduct or inappropriate behaviour of the Association of Urban Literary Studies (ALUS)
Member of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS),Ordinary Member of the BACLS Executive, Organising Committee Member of BACLS Conference 2023 and Chair of Selection Panel for Edited Collection (Book) Prize 2023
Member of the Contemporary European Studies (CES)
Member of Fringe Urban Narratives: Peripheries, Identities, Intersections
Member of the London Literary Society
Member of the Modern Language Association (MLA)


"Space." Co-authored with Judith Eckenhoff, M.A. Introduction to Cognitive Narratology, edited by Jan Alber and Peter Wenzel, WVT, 2021, pp. 65-94.

Book Review of Lena Mattheis's Translocality in Contemporary City Novels. Cham: Palgrave Macmillian, 2021. Anglistik 33.3 (2022), pp.157-58.

"Psychogeographical Drifting and the Embodied Sense-Making of History in Hidden Urban Sites: Will Wilesʼs Care of Wooden Floors (2012)" ZELTForum – Göttinger Schriften zur Landschaftsinterpretation und Tourismus, Vol. 12, Reale – fiktive – virtuelle Räume, edited by Diana Marquardt, Jennifer Fest, Werner Kreisel, and Tobias Reeh, pp. 219-249.

“Shaping Your Own ‘Satin Island’ and Urban Identity in the Great Report of Tom McCarthy's Satin Island (2015)” [expected publication in 2024 in Cities Under Stress - Edited Collection, edited by Anni Lappela, Liam Lanigan and Eric Prieto, Palgrave Macmillian.]

“Immersive Transmedia Storytelling and Embodied Urban Experiences of Psychogeographical Works” [expected publication in 2024 in Ekphrasis – Images, Cinema, Theory, Media, edited by Fátima Chinita and Jorge Palinhos.]


Alumni Award – Commission of the Philology Faculty, Albert Ludwig University Freiburg
For the MA thesis, "(T)Here is the City: Locating the Liminal London in Contemporary British Novels"

DUO-Singapore Exchange Fellowship Award from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore
For the exchange programme (Philosophy and English Literature) at the Albert Ludwig University Freiburg