SPANISH 438 - Political and Economic Thought in Latin America/Spain
Winter 2022, Section 001 - Conquest and Capitalism
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is   Hybrid (see other Sections below)
Subject: Spanish (SPANISH)
Department: LSA Romance Languages & Literatures
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Enforced Prerequisites:
Nine credits chosen between SPANISH 279 and 399; or two RCLANG 324 and six credits chosen between SPANISH 279 and 399.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/5/22 - 4/19/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Capitalism is not a natural order that has existed from the beginning of time. It has a history, and we can study that history to see when and how it emerged. While Britain’s Industrial Revolution is probably the most familiar reference point, some of the most important economic thinkers, including Adam Smith and Karl Marx, point to the so-called “discovery” (i.e. the conquest and colonization) of the Americas as a key moment in this process. Taking these arguments as its point of departure, this course explores the colonial roots of modern capitalism by examining the writings of Spanish and Portuguese jurists, theologians, and missionaries about the colonial project and its economic implications from the late fifteenth to the mid seventeenth centuries. What new problems and dilemmas did Iberian colonialism raise, and how did early modern writers attempt to rationalize and resolve them? What new political and economic ideas emerged as a result? To what extent did these writers seek to reconcile political domination and economic extraction with their stated spiritual and religious objectives? More broadly, how should we understand the relation between colonialism and capitalism, and what does that analysis mean for our understanding of the world today? Readings will consist for the most part of primary sources from the colonial period, but will also include more recent work by political economists, critics, and historians.

This class counts toward the Spanish major and as literature credit toward the Spanish minor.


SPANISH 438 - Political and Economic Thought in Latin America/Spain
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
1/5/22 - 4/19/22
002 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
1/5/22 - 4/19/22

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for SPANISH 438.001

View/Buy Textbooks


Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for SPANISH 438 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)