Samantha Seal

Associate Professor
Phone: (603) 862-5503
Office: English, Hamilton Smith Hall Rm 349H, Durham, NH 03824

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 <a href="http://www.premodernmaternalmortality.com">www.premodernmaternalmortali…;.

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.

For more information on Dr. Seal's work, see <a href="https://www.samanthakatzseal.com/">https://www.samanthakatzseal.com/</a…;

Courses Taught

  • ENGL 510: Intro to Digital Humanties
  • ENGL 585: Intro to Women in Literature
  • ENGL 693: Sp Top Lit/Race in Middle Ages
  • ENGL 751/897: Medieval Romance
  • ENGL 753: Old English
  • ENGL 756: Chaucer
  • ENGL 797R/897: Special Studies in Lit (Race)
  • ENGL 924: Professional Preparation
  • ENGL 925: Graduate Study of Literature


  • Ph.D., Yale University
  • M.A., Yale University
  • M.Phil., Yale University
  • B.A., Washington University - St Louis

Research Interests

  • Chaucer
  • Digital humanities
  • Disability studies
  • Feminist and queer theory
  • History of medicine and the body
  • Human Reproduction/Fertility
  • Jewish Studies
  • Medieval History
  • Medieval literature
  • Women's Studies

Selected Publications

  • 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. (2021). Chaucer's Women: Sex and the Scholarly Imagination. The Chaucer Review, 56(4), 322. doi:10.5325/chaucerrev.56.4.0322

  • 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). Father Chaucer: Generating Authority in The Canterbury Tales. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

  • 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. (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 Physician's Tale and the Letter of the Law. The Chaucer Review, 52(3), 298. doi:10.5325/chaucerrev.52.3.0298

  • Samantha Katz Seal. (2014). Pregnant Desire:. The Chaucer Review, 48(3), 284. doi:10.5325/chaucerrev.48.3.0284

  • Seal, S. L. (2012). Miraculous History: Fictions of Text and Body in a Ritual Murder Trial. Religion and Literature, 44(1).

  • Seal, S. L. (2010). To Speak of Silence: Clemence of Barking’s Life of St. Catherine and Her Vision of Female Wisdom. Magistra.