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 anti-Judaism) in the late Middle Ages. Her work has been supported by a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.

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 Supremacy in Late Medieval England," 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

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


  • 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

Courses Taught

  • 510: Intro to Digital Humanties
  • 693: Sp Top Lit/Race in Middle Ages
  • 753: Old English
  • 924: Professional Preparation
  • ENGL 510: Intro to Digital Humanties
  • ENGL 585: Intro to Women in Literature
  • ENGL 595W: Literary Topics
  • ENGL 751: Medieval Epic and Romance
  • ENGL 756: Chaucer
  • ENGL 787: English Major Seminar
  • ENGL 925: Graduate Study of Literature

Selected Publications

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. 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.