Ryan Pilcher specializes in nineteenth-century Francophone literatures and cultures, with particular emphasis on the period between the French and Haitian Revolutions and the 1848 abolition of slavery. His work has appeared in George Sand Studies and The Routledge Companion to Gender and Affect, and is forthcoming in Dix-Neuf.
Ryan completed his dual-title Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Pennsylvania State University in 2023. His dissertation, "Sensible Bodies: Race and Sentimentalism in the Nineteenth Century," examined how the writing style known as sentimentalism intersects with discourses of racial difference in the nineteenth century. Through analyses of corpus materials including scientific treatises, textbooks, novels, and short stories, the dissertation argued that the capacity to feel was a key aspect in the definition and management of differently racialized populations from the Enlightenment to the mid-nineteenth century.
Ryan’s teaching experiences include first-, second-, and third-year French language and culture classes, both in-person and online. In academic year 2016—2017, he taught English courses at the Université de Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France.
At Pitt, he teaches courses in English and in French, including "Gender, Sexuality, and French Thought," "French Kiss" and "La France aujourd'hui."