Emily Mahan

Emily Mahan


MA in Medieval Literature, University of York, 2013; MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry, University of Michigan, 2008; BA in Linguistics, University of Washington, 2004

Year of Matriculation




Areas of Interest

Old and Middle English Literature, Old Norse Literature, Manuscript Studies, Animal Studies


The fable was a highly popular literary genre in the middle ages, and fables were some of the first texts encountered by young students of Latin. Stories of talking animals, who reason, argue, and negotiate, were ubiquitous in both Latin and vernacular traditions during a time when, it is commonly assumed, humans and animals were thought to be fundamentally distinct, with a key difference being our ability to use language, and their inability. One tactic in reassessing the relationship between humans and (other) animals is to understand the ways in which we have historically aligned ourselves with or against other species, or understood ourselves in terms of them. I am interested in coming at this from the other direction. Rather than asking how humans are animals, I ask, how are animals human?

Recent Scholarly Activity

Conference Presentations:

"Voices of the Vulnerable: Power and Persuasion in Robert Henryson's Moral Fables." Vulnerability in the Middle Ages Conference; Princeton (April 2018)

"Royal Women and Multimodal Literacy." Gender, Sexuality and Performative Identity Conference; University of Notre Dame (April, 2018)


Language Bias: An Editor’s Guide to Biased Language. Editorial Freelancers Association, 2016.

Review of Alchemy, Medicine, and Commercial Book Production, by Alpo Honkapohja. Journal of English and Germanic Philology, in pres

Fellowships and Awards:

University Presidential Fellowship, 2016-present