Elvira L Vilches
Associate Professor of Romance Studies

My teaching and research interests include early modern Spanish and Colonial Latin American literature, the rise of capitalism, economic thought, and the making of practical knowledge. I study how 16th and 17th century thinkers, authors, and observers across the Spanish empire grappled with money, commerce, and economic challenges that resemble our own. My interest on the interface between literature, history, and economics led to the publication of New World Gold: Cultural Anxiety and Monetary Disorder in Early Modern Spain (The University of Chicago Press, 2010). In my articles explore the intersections between commerce, print culture, and silver; why and how literary authors wrote about money in any way, shape, or form; witnessing financial crisis in the 17th and 21st centuries; and colonial theories of value and exchange. I am currently working on a book manuscript, Doing Business: Commerce and Culture in Early Modern Spain, examining how accounting, borrowing, and investing became activities of everyday life across the cultural field in Spain and the Americas. Most recent undergrad and graduate courses look at the cultural history of chocolate and tobacco; early travel writing; women and the production of knowledge; the worlds of Cervantes; and the correlations between commercial culture and literature. 

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