Amy Juarez, University of California Riverside
The American Branch is thrilled to announce that the winner of the 2023 Schallek Fellowship is Amy Juarez, a Ph.D. candidate in English Literature at the University of California-Riverside. The $30,000 fellowship will help support Amy with writing her dissertation next year.
My dissertation, entitled “The Poetics of Embodied Architecture in Medieval and Early Modern Europe,” takes as its central concern how Vitruvian craft undergirds late-medieval and early modern conceptions of embodiment, and how writers from these periods use these ideologies in and through their own literary discourses. My project argues that the “Vitruvian Man” is the basis for more complex and nuanced depictions of the body-as-building dynamic than previously understood in late-medieval and early modern cultures from the twelfth to sixteenth centuries. Accordingly, this dissertation explores four modes of Vitruvian technology in literary texts, tying theories of architectural embodiment to ekphrastic encounters, to microarchitectural experiences, to humoral diagnoses, and to a miniaturized version of the “Vitruvian Man” himself. Literary representations of these four processes make visible a deep interest in Vitruvius’s ancient philosophies in the medieval and early modern periods; at the same time they simultaneously complicate Vitruvian notions of architecture as an embodied form of expression. As my project will show, Vitruvian craft, or techne, is more than mere metaphor in medieval and early modern poetry; in fact, the Vitruvian Virtues are evoked as real architectural tropes in rhetorical practices from these periods.
Under the tenure of the Schallek Fellowship, I plan to research and write my first and
third chapters. I’ll dedicate the beginning four to five months of my time as a Schallek Fellow to
researching and writing for the third chapter, while the subsequent 4-5 months will be spent on
chapter 1. My third chapter, in specific, requires me to look at John Lydgate’s The Dietary, found
in MS. Ashmole 61, which is housed in the Bodleian Library: I expect to travel here to gain
access to the archival materials in the Fall of 2023. The Getty Research Institute also holds
archival objects of importance to my project, some of which include editions of Alberti’s treatise,
and is located within driving distance of my home institution. Because of my proximity to this
institution, I plan to visit the Getty to conduct research also during the beginning phases of my
The privilege of the Schallek Fellowship will enable me the dedicated time and financial
support to complete my dissertation. My home institution requires me to teach whilst in my
dissertation year, which places pressure on me to balance my role as a teacher and
researcher—both of which are extremely important to my professional development. Having the
Schallek Fellowship would allow me to focus solely on the dissertation, alleviating me from my
teaching responsibilities, and providing me space to prioritize my research and writing. While I
work on my dissertation, the Schallek Fellowship would provide sustained financial security
which will allow me to put more mental energy and labor into the project than possible without
The American Branch congratulates Amy on her achievement!
The Schallek Awards program memorializes Dr. William B. Schallek, whose vision and generosity established the original scholarship fund, and his wife, Maryloo Spooner Schallek. Today the program is supported by a $1.4 million endowment and is administered by the Medieval Academy of America. Beginning in 2004, the program offers five annual dissertation awards of $2,000 each and a dissertation fellowship of $30,000 annually.