Dr Ryan Sweet

Dr Ryan Sweet

Wellcome Trust ISSF Early Career Research Fellow

Summary: Wellcome Trust ISSF Early Career Research Fellow

Location: Room 2.04, 29-31 Clarendon Place

Teaching Commitments: While I am not teaching in the academic year 2017/18, I have classroom experience at all taught levels in Higher Education and I am happy to give informal advice to students working on projects related to my research areas.



I completed my BA (English), MA (English: Victorian Studies), and PhD (English) at the University of Exeter before moving to the University of Leeds in August 2017 to take up a Wellcome Trust ISSF Early Career Research Fellowship based jointly in the Leeds Humanities Research Institute (LHRI) and School of English. Prior to taking up the post at Leeds, I also taught at the University of Exeter, Plymouth University, and Bath Spa University.

From 2012 to 2017 I worked for the international biannual academic journal Literature & History (first as Books Reviews Editor and then as Managing Editor from September 2014).

I am currently a member of the following research societies:

  • British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS).
  • The British Society for Literature and Science (BSLS).
  • Commission on Science and Literature (DHST/IUHPST).
  • Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS).

 I am also a contributor to the peer-reviewed online collection Nineteenth-Century Disability: Cultures and Contexts.

Research Interests

My primary area of expertise is in representations of disability and (more broadly speaking) physical difference in nineteenth-century British and American literature and culture. My PhD thesis explored representations of prosthetic body parts in fiction from 1832 to 1908. I am currently developing this research into a monograph, entitled Prosthetic Body Parts in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, which is under contract with Palgrave Macmillan for their Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series.

I also have developing interests in histories of intellectual disability and critical animal studies.

Current Research Projects

With the £50,000 of Wellcome Trust ISSF funding that I have been awarded, I am currently working on two projects:

  1. Completing my monograph on Victorian prostheses.
  2. Developing a new project on the entangled histories of disability and nonhuman animals, with a focus on nineteenth-century literature, culture, and medicine.

Specific areas that this latter study covers includes (among others) topics such as the popular image of the “blind beggar” and his dog, the use of animality in the marketing of “non-normative” freak-show performers, the relationship between lived experiences of disability and animal-welfare writing, and representations of animals with prostheses.

Mailing Address

School of English, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT