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Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact:

Professor Andrew Beresford, BA, MA, PhD London

Contact Professor Andrew Beresford (email at


Andy Beresford’s research is on early Spanish literature and art, focusing on hagiography and religious subjects more broadly, as well as the relationship between corporeality and identity. This work has two interrelated strands: the first is gender-based, and interrogates the sexualization of male/female subjects and the function of the body as a semiotic sign system, while the second is broader, and explores developments in signification occasioned by modifications to the body’s external appearance or challenges to the integrity of its borders, particularly when they are transgressed and it becomes impossible to maintain clearly demarcated distinctions between internal/external, subject/object, or self/other. This approach is interdisciplinary and combines traditional approaches to palaeography and codicology (which have made previously inaccessible materials available for scrutiny), with theoretical approaches informed by the work of critics such Homi K. Bhabha, Judith Butler, Sigmund Freud, Julia Kristeva, and Jacques Lacan.

Andy’s work to date has engaged with a variety of texts, from body-and-soul debates to Celestina, but has paid particular attention to the vernacular reception of Latin hagiography in Spain, looking at the dissemination of Jacobus de Voragine's Legenda aurea. This has produced books on Saints Agnes (2007a), Thaïs and Pelagia (2007b), and most recently, Agatha and Lucy (2010). 

More recent projects have focused on the sexualization and significance of saintly identity, the invasion of the cadaver by the burrowing worm and the queering of the self/other relationship, and the expression of prejudice in relation to epidermal transformations experienced under the searing heat of the sun.

Andy is currently engaged in a number of extended research projects, including work on the reception of the legends of the desert ascetics in Spain, the ideology of martyrdom, and the relationship between visual and verbal representations of suffering and pain.

Book Reviews

Andy regularly reviews for a number of journals and his work has appeared in: Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, Journal of Theological Studies, La Corónica, Speculum, Medium Aevum, and Modern Language Review.

Postgraduate Supervision

Andy is able to supervise most topics dealing with Spanish literature and art to 1700, but is particularly interested in projects that intersect with his research interests in hagiography, gender, and the visual arts. Topics he has supervised or is currently supervising at doctoral level include: Military Martyrs in Medieval Castilian Prose, Anomalous Women in Fifteenth-Century Spanish Poetry, the Saintly Widow in Medieval Castilian Literature, and Representations of Martyrdom.

Research Collaboration

Andy is a founding member of Durham's Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) and has contributed to its seminar series and MA programme, which he directed from 2008 to 2011. He is also a member of Durham’s Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures and is currently working on a major public-facing initiative to promote County Durham’s surprisingly extensive holdings in Spanish art (from the fifteenth-century Torralba master, through to household names such as El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, and Goya) in conjunction with colleagues from the Bowes Museum and Auckland Castle.

Andy is a member of the Ibero-Medieval Association of North America, the Senior Editorial Board of Papers of the Medieval Hispanic Research Seminar (Queen Mary, London), the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland, and the international research Group Coordinación de la Edición de la Hagiografía Castellana.

Teaching Areas

  • Introduction to Hispanic Texts
  • Sex and Society in Spanish Literature to 1700
  • Spanish Language
  • Spanish Texts 2

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Andrew M. Beresford & Clare Baron (2014). Auckland Castle: Zurbarán’s Jacob and his Twelve Sons. In Spanish Art in County Durham. Clare Baron & Andrew M. Beresford Bishop Auckland: Auckland Castle Trust, The Bowes Museum, & Durham University. 26-43.
  • Andrew M. Beresford, Gemma Lewis & Christopher Ferguson (2014). Durham Castle and Cathedral: Two Sets of Spanish Apostles. In Spanish Art in County Durham. Clare Baron & Andrew M. Beresford Bishop Auckland: Auckland Castle Trust, The Bowes Museum, & Durham University. 112–21.
  • Andrew M. Beresford (2014). Durham Cathedral: The Galilee Chapel Altarpiece. In Spanish Art in County Durham. Clare Baron & Andrew M. Beresford Bishop Auckland: Auckland Castle Trust, The Bowes Museum, & Durham University. 102–11.
  • Andrew M. Beresford (2014). Postscript: The Legacy of Spanish Golden Age Art. In Spanish Art in County Durham. Clare Baron & Andrew M. Beresford Bishop Auckland: Auckland Castle Trust, The Bowes Museum, & Durham University. 132–41.
  • Andrew M. Beresford, Howard Coutts & Clare Baron (2014). Stately Homes in County Durham: Some Collectors of Spanish Paintings in County Durham. In Clare Baron & Andrew M Beresford Bishop Auckland: Auckland Castle Trust, The Bowes Museum, & Durham University. 92–101.
  • Beresford, Andrew (2013). Sanctity and prejudice in Medieval Castilian Hagiography: The Legend of Saint Moses the Ethiopian. In Medieval Hispanic Studies in Memory of Alan Deyermond. Beresford, Andrew, Haywood, Louise & Weiss, Julian Woodbridge: Tamesis. 11-38.
  • Beresford, Andrew M. (2011). From Virgin Martyr to Holy Harlot: Female Saints in the Middle Ages and the Problem of Classification. In A Companion to Spanish Women's Studies. Xon de Ros & Geraldine Coates Woodbridge: Tamesis. 77-93.

Edited book

  • Andrew M. Beresford & Clare Baron (2014). Spanish Art in County Durham. Bishop Auckland: Auckland Castle, Bowes Museum, and Durham University.
  • Andrew M Beresford, Louise M. Haywood & Julian Weiss (2013). Medieval Hispanic Studies in Memory of Alan Deyermond. Woodbridge: Tamesis.
  • Andrew M. Beresford & Lesley K. Twomey (2013). Critical Cluster: 'Visions of Hagiography', La Corónica 42.1 (Fall): 101-348.

Journal Article

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Selected Grants

  • 2009: British Academy Overseas Conference Grant
  • 2007: AHRC Research Leave Award
  • 2005: AHRC Research Leave Award