Heather Bamford

Professor Heather Bamford
Associate Professor of Spanish Literature, Deputy Department Chair of RGSLL
[email protected]

Heather Bamford studies and teaches the literatures and cultures of medieval and early modern Iberia. She earned her B.A. in Spanish at the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley. Heather’s research interests include the history of reading, magic, Alfonso X, the Moriscos, and more broadly, theoretical approaches to the medieval and early modern periods. Her first book, Cultures of the Fragment: Uses of the Iberian Manuscript, 1100–1600 (University of Toronto Press, 2018), places fragments at the center of reading and non-reading aspects of medieval and 16th-century use of manuscripts. The book challenges the notion that fragments came about accidentally, arguing that most fragments were created on purpose, as a result of a wide range of practical, intellectual and spiritual uses of manuscript material. Cultures of the Fragment received the 2020 La corónica book award for the best monograph published in the field of hispanomedieval studies. Heather’s current project is tentatively titled Unprinted; it writes a history of reading in early modern Iberia by examining not only the meaning of reading, but also the meaning of meaning in a range of manuscript texts in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain, including personal notebooks, magic texts, forgeries, religious works, and literature that circulated among Christians and religious minorities.  Heather has been a member of the MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions, serves on the Advisory Board for the journal Scholarly Editing, and was a GW Humanities Center fellow for the 2020-2021 academic year. Heather Bamford is currently Deputy Chair of RGSLL and Director of the Program in Spanish and Latin American Literatures and Cultures. She will start her term as a GW Faculty Senator in May 2022.




Cultures of the Fragment: Uses of the Iberian Manuscript, 1100–1600. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018. 

• In preparation. With Alberto Montaner. Companion to Aljamiado Literature with Alberto Montaner. Brill.

• “Meaning and Reading in the Proverbs of El Conde Lucanor.”Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, vol. LV, no. 3, October 2021, pp. 777-797.

•“Amulet, Talisman, and Intention in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia.”Revista Hispánica Moderna, vol. 72, no. 2, December 2021, pp.133-148.

• With Emily Francomano. “Whose Digital Middle Ages? Accessibility in Digital Medieval Manuscript Culture.”Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, January 2022. 

•“Fragment and Referent in Material Texts Identified as the Libro de buen amor.” La corónica, vol. 47, no. 1, 2018, pp. 9-36.

•“Magic, Reading and Meaning in Early Modern Iberian Manuscript Text. eHumanista/Conversos, vol. 6, Fall 2018, pp. 403-418.

• With Emily Francomano. “On “Digital-Medieval Manuscript Culture”: A Tentative Manifesto,” Digital Philology: A Journal of Medieval Cultures, vol. 7, no. 1, Spring 2018, pp. 29-45.

•“Material Love: Manuscript Culture in Prison Amoureuse and Cárcel de Amor.” Philological Quarterly, vol. 96, no. 3, 2017, pp. 269-292. 

•“A Romance Kharja in Context.” Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies, vol. 5, no. 2, 2013, pp. 69-183.  

•“Presently Old: Time According to Three Early Modern Codices.” Postmedieval: A Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies vol. 4, no. 3, 2013, pp. 335-351. 

•“Fragment as Phenomenon and Philological Subject: Two Cases of Chivalric Binding Fragments.” La corónica, vol. 39, no. 2, 2011, pp. 29-60.