Walter Mignolo

William H. Wannamaker Professor of Romance Studies in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

External address: 
125B Friedl Building, Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708-0413
(919) 668-1949
Office Hours: 
Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment (between 1pm and 3 pm)


Mignolo’s research and teaching have been devoted, in the past 30 years, to understanding and unraveling the historical foundation of the modern/colonial world system and imaginary since 1500. In his research, modern/colonial world system and imaginary is tantamount with the historical foundation of Western Civilization and its expansion around the globe. His research stands on four basic premises: a) the there is no world-system before 1500 and the integration of America in the Western Christian (European) imaginary; b) that the world-system generated the idea of “newness” (the New World) and of modernity and c) that there is no modernity without coloniality—coloniality is constitutive no derivative of modernity; d) the modern/colonial imaginary was mounted and maintained on the invention of the Human and Humanity that provided the point of reference for the invention of racism and sexism together with the invention of nature.

Briefly stated, Mignolo’s research has been and continues to be devoted to exposing modernity/coloniality as a machine that generates and maintains un-justices and to exploring decolonial ways of delinking from the modernity/coloniality. Because the political dimension of his work, in the past fifteenth years Mignolo’s energy has been increasingly devoted to the public sphere working with artists, curators, and with journalists, writing op-eds and giving frequent interviews in English and Spanish, co-organizing and co-teaching Summer Schools in Middelburg, Bremen, and at UNC-Duke. He is also frequently delivering workshops for faculty and graduate students in South and Central America, Asia, and Europe.

Mignolo was awarded the Katherine Singer Kovaks prize (MLA) for The darker side of the renaissance: literacy, territoriality and colonization (1996) and the Frantz Fanon Prize by the Caribbean Philosophical Association for The Idea of Latin America (2006). His work has been translated into German, Italian, French, Swedish, Rumanian, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, and Korean. He is an Honorary Research Associate for CISA (Center for Indian Studies in South Africa), Wits University at Johannesburg. Recently, he has joined the Dialogue of Civilizations (DOC) Program Council as a senior adviser and was distinguished with an Honoris Causa degree in the Humanities (Filosofia y Letras) by the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.







  • Ph.D., Ecole Des Hautes Etudes (France) 1973

Mignolo, WD. La idea de America Latina. Trans. WD Mignolo. Barcelona, Spain: Gedisa, 2006. (Monograph)

Descolonialidad del Ser y del Saber: Videos Indígenas y los Límites Coloniales de la Izquierda. Ed. W Mignolo. Buenos Aires: Ediciones del Signo, 2006. (Edited Book)

Ïnterculturalidad, descolonización del estado y del conocimiento. El desprendimiento: pensamiento crítico y giro des-colonial. Ed. W Mignolo. Editorial del Signos and Center for Global Studies and the Humanities, Duke University, 2006. (Edited Book)

Mignolo, W. The Idea of Latin America. London: Blackwell, 2005. (Monograph)

Mignolo, W. Capitalismo y geopolitica del conocimiento. Duke University, 2001. (Edited Book)

Capitalismo y geopolitica del concimiento. El eurocentrismo y la filosofia de la liberacion en el debate intellectual contemporaneo. Ed. W Mignolo. Buenos Aires: Editorial del Signo/Duke University, 2001. (Edited Book)

Mignolo, WD. Local Histories/Global Designs. Coloniallity, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking. Princeton University Press, 1999. (Monograph)

Mignolo, WD. The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality and Colonization. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1995. (Monograph)

Writing Without Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica and the Andes. Ed. W Mignolo and E Hill Boone. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994. (Edited Book)


Mignolo, W. "Decolonizing western epistemology/building decolonial epistemologies." Decolonizing Epistemologies: Latina/o Theology and Philosophy. November 1, 2011. 19-43.

Mignolo, WD. "Preface." September 21, 2011. xiv-xvi.

Mignolo, WD. "The Darker Side of the Enlightenment: A Decolonial Reading of Kant’s Geography." Reading Kant’s Geography. Ed. S Elden and E Mendieta. SUNY Press, July 2011. 319-344.

Mignolo, WD. "I Am Where I Think. Remapping the Order of Knowing." The Creolization of Theory. Ed. F Lionnet and S-M Shih. Duke University Press, May 2011. 159-192.

Mignolo, WD. "El vuelco de la razón: sobre las revoluciones, independencias y rebeliones de finales del xviii y principios del xix." Bicentenarios (Otros), transiciones y resistencias. Ed. N Giarraca. La Ventana, 2011. 27-38.

Mignolo, WD. "Museums in the Colonial Horizon of Modernity." Globalization and Contemporary Art. Ed. J Harris. Willey, 2011. 71-86.

Mignolo, WD. "Globalization and the Geopolitics of Knowledge: The Role of the Humanities in the Corporate University." The American-Style University at Large. Transplants, Outposts, and the Globalization of Higher Educaton. Ed. KL Kleypass and JIM Dougall. Lexington Books,The Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, 2011. 3-40.

Mignolo, WD. "L’ option decoloniale." Nouvelle Critique Sociales. Europe-Amerique Latin-Retour. Ed. MMEA Loute. Plimetrica. International Scientic Publisher, 2011. 233-257.

Mignolo, W. "Crossing Gazes and the Silence of the 'Indians': Theodor De Bry and Guaman Poma de Ayala." Theodor De Bry’s Voyages to the New and Old Worlds. Ed. M Quilligan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011. 173-223.

Mignolo, W. "Modernity and Decoloniality. An annotated bibliography." Oxford Bibliography On Line. Oxford University Press, 2011.


Mignolo, W. "La idea de América Latina (la derecha, la izquierda y la opción descolonial)." Crítica y Emancipación 1.2 (May 2009): 251-276.

Mignolo, WD. "Dispensable and Bare Lives: Coloniality and the Hidden Politica/Economy Agenda of Modernity." Human Architecture. Journal of the Sociology of Self-knowledge 2 (2009): 69-88.

Mignolo, WD. "Who Speaks for the "Human" in Human Rights?." Ed. A Forcinito, R Marrero-Fonte, and K McDonough. Hispanic Issues On Line (Special Issue: Human Rights in Latin America and Iberian Cultures) 5.1 (2009): 7-25.

Mignolo, WD. "The Power of Labeling." Ed. A Munoz and MOWC Curator. Report for the Museum of World Culture, Goteborg (2009).

Mignolo, WD. "Revisando las Reglas del Juego." Ed. H Cairo. Tabula Rasa. Revista de Humanidades. Bogota: Colombia 8 (2008): 321-334. (Academic Article)

Mignolo, WD. "La opción descolonial." Ed. A Salvador. Letral. Revista Electrónica de Estudios Transatlánticos (2008): 4-22. (Academic Article)

Mignolo, WD. "El pensamiento descolonial: Reflexiones finales." Ed. C Walsh. Comentario International (Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar, Quito, Ecuador) (2007): 186-194.

Mignolo, WD. "Introduction." South Atlantic Quarterly 105.3 (December 1, 2006): 497-499. Full Text

Mignolo, WD. "A globalizacion e a xeopolitica do coñecemento: o papel das humanidades na universidade corporativa." A Literatura Compadad Oxe. Boletín Galego da Literatura 33 (August 2006): 97-119.


Mignolo, WD. "The 'economy of more' is not longer sustainable." World Public Forum Web Page (April 3, 2012). (Interview)

Mattison, C, and Mignolo W, . "Neither Capitalism, nor Communism but Decolonization." Critical Legal Thinking (March 2012).

Mignolo, W. "Para Des-Inventar America Latina." Disturbios Culturales. Conversaciones con varios autores (March 2012): 195-211. (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "De-Secularization as a Condition for the Dialogue of Civilizations." World Public Forum Web Page (2012). (Academic Article)

Mignolo, WD. "The Failures of Neoliberalism and the Road to the Future." World Public Forum Web Page (2012). (Academic Article)

Mignolo, WD. "Cinco Siglos Igual." La Opinion on Line (December 11, 2011). (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "El reordenamiento global." Pagina 12, Argentine newspaper (2011).

Mignolo, WD. "Hacia la desoccidentalizacion." Pagina 12, Argentine newspaper (2011).