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, W. "8) Imperial/Colonial Metamorphosis: from the Ottoman and Spanish Empires to the US and European Union." Islam, Latinité, Transmodernité. Ed. C Méndes. Rio de Janeiro: Universidad Cándido Méndes, March 2005. 91-145.

Mignolo, W. "4) Preface." Pensamiento crítica y matriz (de)colonial. Ed. C Walsh. Quito/Ecuador: Editorial Abya-Yala/Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar, 2005. 7-12.

Mignolo, W. "6) Huntington’s Fears: ‘Latinidad’iin the Horizon of the Modern/Colonial World." Latin@s in the World-System. Decolonization Struggles in the 21st. Century US Empire. Ed. R Grosfoguel, N Madonado-Torres, and JD Saldívar. Boulder/London: Paradigm Publishers, 2005. 57-74.

Mignolo, W. "1) Globalización, procesos civilizatorios y reubicación de las lenguas y las culturas." Globalización y diversidad cultural. Una mirada desde América Latina. Ed. RO Pajuelo and P Sandoval. Perú: IEP ediciones, 2005. 203-228.

Mignolo, W. "2) Colonialidad global, capitalismo y hegemonía epistémica." Culturas Imperiales. Experiencia y representación en América, Asia y Africa. Ed. R Salvatore. Rosario/Argentina: Beatriz Viterbo Editora, 2005. 55-88.

Mignolo, W. "Splendors and Miseries of "Science": Coloniality, Geopolitics of Knowledge, and Epistemic Pluri-versality." Prudent Knowledge for a Decent Life, forthcoming. Ed. BDS Santos. University of Wisconsin Press, 2005.

Mignolo, W. "3) 'Un paradigma otro’: Colonialidad global, pensamiento fronterizo y cosmopolitanismo crítico." Ed. G Verdesio. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan (Department of Romance Studies), 2005. 127-147.

Mignolo, W. "7) Prophets Facing Sidewise: The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference." Ed. J Maffie. London: Routledge, 2005. 111-128.

Mignolo, WD. "Philosophy and the colonial difference." Latin American Philosophy: Currents, Issues, Debates. December 1, 2003. 80-86.

Mignolo, W. "Capitalism and Geopolitics of Knowledge: Latin American Social Thought and Latino/American Studies." Critical Latin American and Latino Studies. Ed. J Poblete. University of Minnesota Press, 2003. 32-75.


Mignolo, W. "Espacios geográficos y localizaciones epistemológicas o la ratio entre la localización geográfica y la subalternizacion de conocimientos." Brazil: Proceedings of the 5th Congress of Comparative Literature, 91-96 1 (1998): 11-32. (Academic Article)

Mignolo, W. "Los estudios subalternos, son posmodernos o poscoloniales." Casa de Las Americas, Cuba 104/1996 (1997): 20-40. (Academic Article)

Mignolo, W. "Espacios geográficos y localizaciones epistemológicas." Diseño. Revista Interacional de Pensamiento Latinoamericano Frankfurt,3 (1997): 1-18. (Academic Article)

Mignolo, W. "Posoccidentalismo: las epistemologías fronterizas y el dilema de los estudios (Latinamericanos) de área." Revista Iberoamericana (1996): 176-177. (Academic Article)

Mignolo, W. "Decires fuera de lugar: sujetos dicentes, roles sociales y formas de inscripción." Revista de Critica Literaria Latinoamericana 41 (1995): 9-32. (Academic Article)

Mignolo, W. "Human Understanding and (Latin) American interests." Poetics Today 16 (1995): 171-214. (Academic Article)


Mignolo, WD. "Delinking Epistemology. An Interview with Marina Grzinick." Reartikulacija 5.Part II (September 2008). (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "Economía Global, Mundo Policéntrico." Patina 12, News Paper, Buenos Aires, Argentina (August 12, 2008). (Scholarly Commentary)

Co-edited, , and Heriberto Cairo Political Sciences, UCDM. "Las vertientes americanas del pensamiento y el proyecto descolonial." (2008).

Mignolo, WD, Grosfóguel, R, Berkeley, UOCA, and Studies, E. "Intervenciones descoloniales." Tabula Rasa. Revista de Humanidades 9 (2008): 29-310.

Mignolo, WD. "Racism As We Sense It Today." Ed. S-M Shi. PMLA 123 (2008): 1737-42. (Academic Article)

Casimir, J, Dubois, L, and ed, WM. "Thinking Haiti, Thinking Jean Casimir." WKO, a web dossier 2 (2008).

Mignolo, WD. "Futuros Globales y Opciones Descoloniales." (2008): 137-152.

Lugones, WDMEM, Jiménez-Lucena, I, and Tlostanova, M. "Gender and Decoloniality." WKO, a web dossier 2 (2008).

Mignolo, WD. "Thinking Decolonially: Citizenship, Knowledge and the Limits of Humanity." Ed. MIMD Almeida and ER Larreta. (2008): 225-258.