As Research Software Engineer, Ryan works closely with faculty and graduate students on longer-term research projects in the humanities and social sciences; he also advises and consults with researchers on a wide variety of projects as well as leads several workshops on digital methodologies in the humanities.
His research brings computational methods of analysis to the study of literature and its history. He has written on changes in literary language across the modern period; computational semantics and its potentials for intellectual history; computational poetics and the linguistics of prose and verse; literary geography and fictional-geographic change; as well as the theory and methods of the digital humanities more broadly.
Ryan received his PhD in English from Stanford University in 2019, where he was a founding member of the Stanford Literary Lab and its Associate Research Director from 2011 to 2015. From 2019-2022 he was Junior Research Fellow in in King's College, Cambridge, where he developed his doctoral thesis into a book manuscript titled Abstraction: A Literary History (expected completion 2023).
Abstraction traces a slow-moving transformation of concrete and abstract forms of language across centuries of literary history. Mixing close and distant reading, the book uncovers how these changes in literary semantics mediate changes in social organization. Through this history and framework, the book also aims to recuperate abstraction as both a method and an object of literary study.