Megan Cavell


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I welcome supervision enquiries from postgraduate students working on Old English and comparative literature (especially poetry), gender, monstrosity, and medieval animal studies/ecocriticism.


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Personal profile


After undertaking a BA and MA in Canada, I completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2012. I then took up a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto (2012-2014) and a Junior Research Fellowship at Durham University (2014-2016). I joined the Department of English Literature here at Birmingham in 2017, after lecturing in the Faculty of English at the University of Oxford (2016-2017).


  • BA in English Language and Literature, University of Western Ontario
  • MA in Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
  • PhD in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge

Research interests

I work on a wide range of topics in medieval studies, from Old and early Middle English and Latin languages and literature to gender, material culture, monstrosity, and animal studies/ecocriticism. My current research projects focus on a) bestiaries and the Old and Middle English Physiologus poems and b) predators and inter-species conflict in pre- and post-Conquest England.

My past research has analysed literary representations of material culture, constructed objects and textiles, as well as theoretical approaches to non-human animals and the natural world. My first book, Weaving Words and Binding Bodies: The Poetics of Human Experience in Old English Literature, explored the early medieval fascination with constructive processes and constrictive practices, emphasising the ways in which Old English texts depict everything from material objects and human/animal bodies to abstract concepts as shaped things.

I am also the editor of The Riddle Ages: Old English Riddles, Translations and Commentaries, whose aim is to provide open-access translations and commentaries of the Exeter Book and contemporary Latin riddles for an audience of students and interested members of the public. The website sponsors and I co-organise annual sessions on early medieval riddles with Jennifer Neville (RHUL) at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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