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 economics, science, and culture share a universe in the writing practices of Spanish Renaissance scholars and authors that shaped broader secular registers grappling with the new economic experiences of colonial wealth and global capitalism. My second book project looks at how mercantile technologies, business writing, and various segments of print culture naturalized capitalism by informing the production of economic knowledge as social practice. Recent publications explore shifting value systems in the Iberian Atlantic; money and public trust; the experiences of financial crisis past and present; as well as monetary practices and the spread of numeracy. She is the author of New World Gold: Monetary Disorders and Cultural Anxiety in Early Modern Spain (Chicago University Press, 2010; winner Choice List of Outstanding Books 2011). She has received various fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the John Carter Brown Library, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Most recent undergrad and graduate courses look at the cultural history of chocolate and tobacco; early travel writing and production of knowledge; Cervantes and the Ethics of Migration; the entanglements of culture and political economy;  and global humanities. 

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