How could the Spanish Monarchy control the gold and silver of the Americas yet rule over so many impoverished subjects in its Iberian heartlands and be itself subject to foreign creditors? This “Indies paradox” vexed sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish conquistadors, poets, moralists, and economic thinkers. Elvira Vilches examines how diverse genres grappled with the increasingly complex mechanisms of finance and the resulting distortions in notions of economic value and individual merit.
Elvira Vilches is the author of New World Gold: Monetary Disorder and Cultural Anxiety in Early Modern Spain (The U of Chicago P, 2010), which was included in the Choice list of outstanding academic books for 2011. She is currently working on a Spanish edition and translation of her first book. Her new book project is entitled Doing Business: Commerce and Mercantile Culture in Early Modern Spain. Professor Vilches has been the recipient of an ACLS Fellowship of International Studies at the Library of Congress, and a Fellowship of New World Comparative Studies at the John Carter Brown Library. She has received several grants from the Folger Library, and the International Seminar in Atlantic History.