The Minted-City: Money, Value, and Crises of Representation in Nineteenth-Century Colombia, 1825-1903


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Romance Studies


This project studies the problem of representing value in an economy based on credit and accumulation through a historical analysis of four financial instruments: stocks, bonds, bills of exchange, and paper money. Considering the discursive, aesthetic, and affective dimensions of financial crises, it analyzes the way nineteenth-century Colombian criollos, white men of letters, understood and managed the ambiguous relation between these financial instruments and the value they were supposed to represent. This dissertation thus unravels how this problem of representation defined the efforts of criollos to join the capitalist world economy and profoundly determined the shape that class, gender, and racial hierarchies would take in Latin America. The project argues that capitalist development was made possible during the period through new linguistic and accounting modes of representation that secured the trust required by financial instruments, while simultaneously making the economy vulnerable to cyclical crises of credibility.