Picture of my two books


a picture of Karl Steel

I’m a medievalist who works on animals and posthumanism. I’m a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. My books are How to Make a Human: Animals and Violence in the Middle Ages (Ohio State University Press, 2011), which the press has made freely available for download here; and the follow-up, How Not to Make a Human: Pets, Feral Children, Worms, Sky Burial, Oysters (University of Minnesota Press, 2019).

My current book project is The Irrational Animal, a study of the conceptual difficulties of the human claim to be “the rational animal,” and the political aims driving the denial of reason to negatively racialized groups, women, and people with disabilities, among other people.

I have also published on medieval vegetarianism, the white supremacist fascination with Vikings, and Shakespeare’s animals, among other related topics. For a sample of my scholarship, see here. For a sense of my teaching, see the 54 videos (and counting) of short lectures I’ve made for my undergraduates.

My CV. My twitter: @karlsteel. You can contact me via ksteel at brooklyn dot cuny dot edu