Samantha Katz Seal is a scholar of the human body and human difference in medieval English literature, with a particular focus on mechanisms of heredity and reproduction. Bringing the history of medicine together with feminist theory, her research has two major foci: the genealogical innovations (and anxieties) of medieval English poets, and the role played by heredity within developing race supremacist ideologies (particularly racialized Christianity ) in the late Middle Ages. Her work has been supported by a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (2019-2020).
Her first book, "Father Chaucer: Generating Authority in 'The Canterbury Tales" (Oxford University Press, 2019) offers a provocative new reading of Geoffrey Chaucer's masterpiece, "The Canterbury Tales," noting how Chaucer returned again and again to metaphors of paternity when crafting his vision of poetic creation and authority. Her current book project, "Before They Were White: Making Race at the Dawn of Modernity" reconsiders the competing theories of racial supremacy that circulated in late medieval England, arguing against the inevitability of modernity's "race science." She is also the co-editor, along with Nicole Nolan Sidhu, of two special journal issues about contemporary feminist theory and medieval studies, including "New Feminist Approaches to Chaucer" The Chaucer Review 54.3 (2019) and "New Feminisms" postmedieval 10.3 (2019). Dr. Seal's digital project, "Death in Childbirth: Memory, Maternity, and Premodern Europe, 1000-1700," a searchable index of 300 premodern women who died in childbirth, can be found at www.premodernmaternalmortality.com.
Dr. Seal serves on the editorial board of Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies and on the Executive Committee for the MLA Chaucer Forum. She has also previously served as an advisory board member for the Society of Medieval Feminist Scholarship. Her work has been published in Studies in the Age of Chaucer, The Chaucer Review, Religion + Literature, and postmedieval, as well as within multiple edited collections.
Seal, S. K. (2022). Whose Chaucer? On Cecily Chaumpaigne, Cancellation, and the English Literary Canon. The Chaucer Review, 57(4), 484-497. doi:10.5325/chaucerrev.57.4.0484
Seal, S. K. (2022). Denying Sameness, Making Race: Medieval Anti-Judaism. The Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures, 48(2), 243-251. doi:10.5325/jmedirelicult.48.2.0243
Seal, S. (2022). The Jewish Reader: A Medieval Antitype. In D. Donoghue, N. Watson, A. Wilson, & J. Simpson (Eds.), The Practice and Politics of Reading, 650-1500 (pp. 181-199). Woodbridge, UK: Boydell and Brewer.
Seal, S. (2020). Disabled Devotion: Original Sin and Universal Disability in the Prik of Conscience. In A. Zimo, T. Vann Sprecher, K. Reyerson, & D. Blumenthal (Eds.), Rethinking Medieval Margins and Marginality (pp. 226-242). New York: Routledge.
Seal, S. K., & Sidhu, N. N. (2019). Feminist intersectionality: Centering the margins in 21st- century medieval studies. postmedieval, 10(3), 272-278. doi:10.1057/s41280-019-00134-y
Seal, S. K., & Sidhu, N. (2019). New Feminist Approaches to Chaucer: Introduction. The Chaucer Review, 54(3), 224-229. doi:10.5325/chaucerrev.54.3.0224
Seal, S. L. (2019). “Chaucer’s Other “Wyf”: Philippa Chaucer, the Critics, and the English Canon,”. The Chaucer Review, (New Feminist Approaches to Chaucer).
Seal, S. L. (2019). Father Chaucer: Generating Authority in The Canterbury Tales. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Seal, S. L. (2018). In Partus. Postmedieval, 9(3), 388-399.
Seal, S. L. (2017). The Canon Yeoman’s Tale: Invention, Discovery, Problem-Solving, and Innovation. In The Open Access Companion to The Canterbury Tales.
Seal. (2017). Reading Like a Jew: Chaucer's <em>Physician's Tale</em> and the Letter of the Law. The Chaucer Review, 52(3), 298. doi:10.5325/chaucerrev.52.3.0298