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Elvira L Vilches, Associate Professor

Elvira L Vilches

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. 

Contact Info:
Office Location:  218 Language Center, Box 90257, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 660-3101
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Fall 2019):

    Languages 305, MW 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
Teaching (Spring 2020):

    Gross Hall 104, Tu 03:05 PM-05:35 PM; SEE INSTRU , Th 04:40 PM-05:55 PM
    (also cross-listed as ETHICS 89S.05, LIT 89S.02, MEDREN 89S.01)

Ph.D.Cornell University1998

Didactic literature, Spanish • Economics and literature • History

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Vilches, EL, “Doing Things with Money in Early Modern Spain”, in A Companion to the Spanish Renaissance (September, 2015), Brill [available here]
  2. Vilches, E, Trade, Silver, and Print Culture in the Colonial Americas, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, vol. 24 no. 3 (July, 2015), pp. 315-334, Informa UK Limited, ISSN 1356-9325 [repository], [doi]
  3. Vilches, EL, Witnessing Crisis in Contemporary and Golden Age Spain, in Connecting Past and Present Exploring the Influence of the Spanish Golden Age in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, edited by Khan, A (June, 2015), pp. 109-132, ISBN 144387616X [62580]  [abs]
  4. Vilches, EL, “Coins, Value, and Trust: The Problematics of Vellón” in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Culture, Signs of Power in Habsburg Spain and the New World, Jason Mckosky and Ignacio López ed., Bucknell University Press: Lanham, 2013. 195-212., in Signs of Power in Habsburg Spain and the New World, edited by Mckosky, J; López Alemant, I (2013), pp. 195-212, Bucknell University Press [book.asp]
  5. Vilches, E, New World Gold Cultural Anxiety and Monetary Disorder in Early Modern Spain (May, 2010), pp. 368 pages, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0226856194 [html]  [abs]

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