Megan Welton


Year Matriculated into Ph.D. Program


Areas of Interest

Political thought and governance; ruling women; memory and rhetoric


B.A. History and Classics, Miami University of Ohio; MPhil Medieval History, University of Cambridge; M.S.S. Medieval Studies, Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame


Under the direction of Professor Emeritus Thomas F.X. Noble, I am currently in the final stages of writing my dissertation titled, “Multiplex Virtus: A Comparative Study of Tenth-Century Queens and Queenship.” This dissertation undertakes a comparative analysis of the political actions of queens and the office of queenship across three realms in tenth-century Europe: Anglo-Saxon England, Late Carolingian Francia, and the Ottonian empire. I offer an innovative approach to a longstanding debate in the study of female rulers, namely whether or not these women could exert agency. I argue that medieval rulers and authors did not contest that queens could exert power as agency. Instead, power for kings and queens alike was articulated and debated through the discourse of political virtus. Queens exhibited their virtus as wise counselors, moderate judges, courageous leaders in war, and pious advocates for monastic renovatio. In each of these arenas, the discourse of political virtus conveyed the tenth-century ruler’s suitability to rule and right to enact change. Understanding the scope and influence of this ideal of virtus is essential for achieving a clearer understanding of queenship in the tenth century.

Recent Scholarly Activity

  • Co-Editor: Representations of Power at the Mediterranean Borders of Europe (12th– 14th centuries), co-edited with I. Baumgärtner and M. Vagnoni,  (SISMEL 2015)
  • Paul G. Tobin Dissertation Fellowship, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, University of Notre Dame (2016-2017; Awarded)
  • DAAD Long-Term Research Grant for Doctoral Candidates with Prof. Dr. Fößel at the Historisches Institut, Universität Duisburg-Essen (2015-2016; Awarded)
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award for Excellence in Teaching, Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Notre Dame (2012; Awarded)
  • “Feed the Birds: Queens, Empresses, and the Politics of Food in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries,” International Medieval Congress, Leeds, United Kingdom, July 4-7, 2016. Invited by Dr. Levi Roach, University of Exeter

Online Profile