I study how books and reading evolve. Primarily with historical, experimental, and other assorted computational methods. Work at University of Mainz as Gutenberg Chair for book and reading studies, but views expressed here are my own, especially wrong ones.

  1. Phylogeny of stories: Our goal is to understand how story sharing evolved in early human history, how early storytelling is structured, and what are the consequences for human history from the long perspective.
  2. Ontogeny of stories: Our group uses experimental and computational methods to study how children and youth engage in story sharing.
  3. History of stories: We explore the book history since the 15th century as necessary to understand today’s diversity of books and reading.
  4. Digital presence of stories: We scrutinize today’s digital transformation of story sharing and try to inform decisions about the regulation of digital society.


Phylogeny of Stories

Ontogeny of Stories

Ontogeny of Stories


History of Stories


History of Stories


We work on a computational history of modern literature. We explore authors, the rise of new genres or national literatures, and search for pattern in the modernization of the arts… more


History of Stories


Digital Presence of Stories



Story sharing
the Digital Age

Based on real-time data of today’s readers, we analyse what stories people share. Specifically, we scrutinise the effects of reading on well-being … more




Dr. Wei Ding

Project leader

+49-6131-39 26 826

Anne Heumann

Student Assistant

aheumann@students.uni-mainz.de +49-6131-39 26 826

Marina Lehmann

Research assistant

+49 6131 39 30270

Olga Lemmerich

Student Assistant

+49-6131-39 26 826

Ellen Lugert

Back office

+49-6131-39 22 580

PD Dr. Pascal Nicklas

Project Leader

+49-6131-39 26 826

Dr. Simone Rebora


+49-6131-39 26 826

Polina Bakhturina


+49-6131-39 26 826

Nomen Nominandum

Doc / Postdoc

+49-6131-39 26 826

PhD Students

Gągała, Łukasz. Attributing authorship in low German manuscripts (Cusanuswerk)

Lehmann, Marina. AI generated texts for individualised reading learning

Loi, Cristina. Experimental Studies on reading and regret (ELIT)

Nemes, Gáspár. Empirical study on the therapeutic function of narratives

Rees, Marvin. Learning by gaming. The case of Assassin’s Creed Discovery tour

Yang, Mingqiang. The term ‚Bildung‘ in literature and philosophy around 1800 (Chinese Scholarship Council)

Current Courses

Seminar: World Fan Literature

(with Simon Andreasen and Anke Vogel, block class)

Seminar: Empirical methods and theories

(Tuesday, 12 pm – 2 pm, P 108)

Colloquium: Trends in Computational and Experimental Humanities

(Thursday 2 pm – 6 pm, K2)

XXVIII. Mainzer Kolloquium

(Friday, January 27th, 2023, 10 am – 4 pm, Atrium maximum)