Fields of Study: Spanish Empire, Bourbon Reforms, Political Economy, Enlightenment, Age of Revolutions
Advisor: Jeremy Adelman
Prior to joining Princeton’s doctoral program, I obtained a B.A. in history from The City College of New York with a concentration in Colonial and Modern Latin America. Since my years at City College, I have developed an interest in how European empires governed their colonies in the eighteenth century, an age of intense commercial competition.
My area of study is the intellectual, cultural and administrative history of the Spanish Empire. I am primarily interested in the Bourbon Reforms, with a particular focus on the transformation of the empire's commercial system towards the middle of the eighteenth century. My main concern, however, is to uncover the intellectual impetus behind the empire's attempt to reform the fleet and galleon commercial system. Hence, I worry most about tracing the debates and conceptual dilemmas that contemporary ministers and thinkers faced in Enlightenment Spain and Spanish America. I study these debates both by placing them in the immediate Hispanic context of their production and by tracing how Spanish ministers read, appropriated and interacted with the classic works of the European Enlightenment, particularly those concerning political economy and the rise of commercial society.
More broadly, I am interested in understanding how and why commerce became a matter of state in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. My interests, therefore, extend widely into the intellectual history of commerce, credit, money, political economy, political thought, natural law, the law of nations, administrative sciences, reason of state and the concept of self-interest. I am particularly fascinated by the question of when and why early modern empires began to challenge the notion that bullion was equivalent to wealth and power. What were the implications of this conceptual transformation? The implications of this transformation were particularly significant in the Spanish Empire, whose economic system had been built on the extraction of mineral wealth from the New World. My dissertation begins where the identification between bullion and wealth ended in Spain. If not to extract bullion, what was Spain to do with such vast territory in the New World? My dissertation attempts to answer how Spanish ministers of the eighteenth century dealt with this troubling question.
For more information see my website here.