Steven Wilson
    Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 1401

    For media contact email
    or call +44(0)2890 973091.

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    Research Interests

    My research seeks to demonstrate some of the ways in which modern French literature, from the nineteenth century to the present, can contribute to our understanding of illness, disease, pain, medical practice and experience, and death. It is situated at the interface of French Studies and the Medical Humanities and is concerned in particular with the ways in which literary configurations of the pathological body engage with medical, philosophical, religious and aesthetic languages.   


    From April 2018 - January 2019 I was an AHRC Leadership Fellow working on a project entitled Global Disease: Language(s) and the Literary Imagination. As part of this Fellowship, I organised two conferences, one on the intersections of medicine and religion in the French literary imagination; and one on the role that research from a modern languages perspective (across eight cultural contexts including Ireland, France, Catalonia, Italy and Russia) can play in understandings of physical pain. The Fellowship also included an outreach event on the importance of Languages and Cultural Knowledge in Global Healthcare.


    I am currently working on the following projects:

    (i) a monograph exploring the diseased body and its relationship to language in nineteenth-century France. Initial primary research associated with the project was funded by a British Academy grant.

    (ii) guest-edited special issues of: Modern and Contemporary France, on the theme of 'L'Imaginaire médico-religieux', to appear in August 2020; the Australian Journal of French Studies (with Loic Bourdeau and Natalie Edwards), on 'The Care (Re)Turn in Contemporary French and Francophone Cultural Productions', to appear in autumn 2020; and L'Esprit Créateur (with Enda McCaffrey), on 'French Thanatology', to appear in spring 2021.


    In 2016, I guest-edited another special issue of L'Esprit Créateur, on the theme of French Autopathography, which considers first-person perspectives on a range of illnesses, disabilities and disorders, and examines the role played by the patient's voice in medical knowledge as well as the phenomenon of narrative medicine. This special issue includes my co-written article on phenomonology and the French cancer narrative, and is available here: This project originated with my MHRA-funded Conference on Disability, Disease and Disorders from First-Person Perspectives.


    Along with Prof. Pascal McKeown (School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences), I was project leader of the QUB Health Humanities interdisciplinary research network in 2014-15. I am currently a Member of the Peer-Review Committee for the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF) Scheme and the British Academy's Knowledge Frontiers Programme: International Interdisciplinary Research Projects


    Postgraduate Research Supervision

    I would be pleased to hear from anyone interested in pursuing postgraduate (MRes or PhD) research in nineteenth-century French literature, especially as it engages with questions of medicine, gender and/or religion; or in modern (19th/20th/21st-century) French illness/patient narratives.


    I was co-supervisor (with Prof. Margaret Topping) of a PhD thesis on The Mythopoetics of Bodily Representation in the Works of George Sand (completed in 2018) and second supervisor of a thesis on multimodality in contemporary French women's life-writing (also completed in 2018). I am currently primary supervisor for three PhD students working on various nineteenth-century-based topics, and third supervisor (through the AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership) of a PhD project on cabaret poetry and disability studies at Durham University. I am also the supervisor of two MRes projects: one on The Panopticon Effect in 19th-Century French Literature; and one on The Theological Turn in Contemporary French End-of-Life Narratives.  


    Contribution to Wider Scholarly Community

    In July 2017 I took up the role of Assistant Editor of French Studies Bulletin. I am on the executive committee of ADEFFI (L'Association des études françaises et francophones d'Irlande) and am also a member of the Society of Dix-neuviémistes (having served on the Society's executive as Membership Secretary from 2012-15 and again in 2016-17), the Society for French Studies, the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (ASMCF) and the Association for Medical Humanities. I am also a member of the International Health Humanities Network




    Before taking up my current position as Lecturer in French Studies at Queen's in January 2013, I taught in the French departments of the Universities of Manchester, Exeter and Leicester. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), and the recipient of a QUB Teaching Award (2014) in the student-nominated category and a QUB Students' Union Education Award for 'Best Feedback' (2016). I was also shortlisted for the 'Excellent Use of Feedback Award' at the Students' Union Education Awards in 2019. I offer undergraduate modules on 'Paris, City of Modernity' (at Level 2), 'Ambition and Desire: The Nineteenth-Century Novel' (at Level 3), and a final-year filière on 'Figures de l’altérité' (Mme de Duras, Ourika; Mérimée, Carmen)



    Administrative Responsibilities

    I am Acting Subject Lead for French Studies at Queen's. I have previously served as Level 3 (final year) convenor and Erasmus Programme Director for French Studies (British Council language assistantships, work placements, and incoming and outgoing Erasmus+ studentships), as well as staff liaison for the QUB French Society. I was also recruitment lead for Modern Languages in semester 2, 2017-18.


    Contact Details

    Office: 10 University Square, Room 301

    Tel: +0044 (0)28 9097 1401


    Consultation Hours (semester 2, 2018-19): Tuesday and Wednesday, 11-12Appointments for meetings at other times should be made in advance by email:


    Willingness to take PhD students


    PhD projects

    French Studies Medical Humanities

    French literature (19th century to the present) and illness, disease, pain

    French Thanatology

    Literary representations of medical practice, care and experience

    Literature and religion, especially in the 19th century

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    Frequent Journals

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    Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

    ID: 2620648