• Room 03.002 - 10 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

French Studies and the Critical Medical Humanities;

Post-1789 French literature on illness, disease, disability, pain, dying, death;

Literary and cultural representations of medical practice, care and experience;

Interactions between medicine and religion, gender, race, (post-)colonialism and/or ecology in modern and contemporary French literature, thought or culture;

Bibliotherapy and scriptotherapy.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Steven Wilson joined Modern Languages at QUB in 2013, having previously worked at the Universities of Manchester, Exeter and Leicester. He is Senior Lecturer in French Studies and Director of Education in the School of Arts, English and Languages. His research is situated at the interface of French Studies and the Critical Medical Humanities. It explores the ways in which modern French literature and thought, from the nineteenth century to the present, contribute to cultural understandings of disease, illness, pain, medical practice and dying/death. He collaborates in a wide range of national and international scholarly networks, has led multidisciplinary research projects across languages, cultures and societies, and is committed to public engagement on the importance of multilingualism and intercultural knowledge in global healthcare, including through policy work.

Recent authored or edited book-length publications include:

Steven's research has been funded by the AHRC (Leadership Fellowship entitled Global Disease: Language(s) and the Literary Imagination), the British Academy, the MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) and the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR). His work for UK research councils includes his membership of the Peer-Review College for the AHRC, the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF) Scheme, and the British Academy's Knowledge Frontiers Programme: International Interdisciplinary Research Projects. He is also an advisor to the Swiss National Research Council programme on 'Covid-19 in Society', and a member of the AHRC-funded multilingual, multidisciplinary project on 'Reading Bodies: Narrating Illness in Spanish and European Literatures and Cultures (1870s to 1960s and Beyond)', led by Prof. Katharine Murphy (University of Exeter).

Steven is in his second term as a member of the Editorial Board of Modern and Contemporary France, an internationally prominent peer-reviewed journal offering a multidisciplinary view of all aspects of France from 1789 to the present day, and was elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Society for French Studies (SFS), the longest-established and largest association in French Studies. He is also a member of the medical humanities working group for the Irish Humanities Alliance (IHA), which seeks to champion humanities research and scholarship across Ireland. 

Postgraduate Research Supervision

Steven Wilson is currently supervisor on five PhD projects and has supervised over a dozen MA/MRes dissertations since 2016. He has supervised to successful completion the following doctoral theses:

  • (with Prof. Margaret Topping) James Illingworth, The Mythopoetics of Bodily Representation in the Works of George Sand (2018) [included a placement at the Bowes Museum, Co. Durham]
  • (with Dr Ros Silvester) Poppy Boyd, Multimodality in Contemporary French Women's Writing (2018)
  • (with Dr Claire Moran) Mathew Rickard, Idées Masculines: The Poetics of Non-Normative Masculinity in Decadent French Literature (2020)
  • (with Prof. Maeve McCusker) Helen McKelvey, Religious Imagery in Nineteenth-Century French Slavery Narratives (2021)
  • (with Dr Claire Moran) Rachael Stockdale, Women’s Queer Identities in French Literature at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century (2021) [included a placement at the European Women's Lobby, Brussels]
  • (with Dr Claire Moran) Jayne Duff, The Descendants of Eve: Rewriting the Fall in Nineteenth-Century French Literature (2022) 
  • (with Dr Ros Silvester) Jordan McCullough, Care and Connection in Contemporary, Parental Récits de deuil (2023)

He would be pleased to hear from anyone interested in pursuing postgraduate (MRes, PhD or postdoctoral) research in nineteenth-century French literature, especially as it engages with questions of medicine, gender and/or religion; or in intersections of literary French Studies (19th century to the present) with the Medical Humanities.


Steven Wilson is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), which recognises outstanding achievement in teaching and enhancing the student learning experience, combined with scholarship and academic leadership. He has been privileged to receive a QUB Teaching Award in the student-nominated category and a QUB Students' Union Education Award for 'Best Feedback'. He was also shortlisted for the 'Excellent Use of Feedback Award' at the Students' Union Education Awards in 2019 and nominated for a Staff Excellence Award in 2022 in the 'Delivering Excellence in your Support to Students' category. Steven offers undergraduate modules on 'Paris, City of Modernity' (at Level 2), 'Ideologies of Death in Modern French Literature' (at Level 3) and a final-year filière on 'Figures de l’altérité' (Mme de Duras, Ourika; Mérimée, Carmen). He also teaches a session on Medical Humanities on the MRes Research Methods in Modern Languages module.

Steven has been an invited lecturer at the Oxford Medical Humanities Summer School and an MA programme on Medical Humanities at the University of St Gallen in Switzerland. He is an External Examiner at the University of Birmingham and coordinates the R. Gapper undergraduate essay prize, an annual award by the Society for French Studies for the best essay submitted by an undergraduate student at a university based in the United Kingdom or Ireland.


Contact Details

Office: 10 University Square, Room 301

Tel: +0044 (0)28 9097 1401

Student Feedback and Consultation Hours: Tuesday 9-10 and 11-12 (in person or on MS Teams). Appointments for meetings at other times may be made by email: steven.wilson@qub.ac.uk

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities


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