Walter Mignolo

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. Teoría del texto e interpretación de textos. Universidad Autonoma de México, 1986. (Monograph)

Mignolo, W. Textos, modelos y metáforas. Jalapa: Universidad Veracruzana, 1984. (Monograph)

Mignolo, W. Elementos para una teoría del texto literario. Barcelona: Crítica Grijalbo, 1978. (Monograph)

Mignolo, W. Disobedientia Epistemica. Rumania: IDEAS Publishing House.


"Cosmopolitan localism: a decolonial shiting of the Kantian’s legacies." Working Papers, Institute of Locatology and the Humanities, National Univeristy at Pusan, South Korea. Trans. WD Mignolo. South Korea: Humanities Center, Pusan, National University, May 2010.

Mignolo, WD. "Decolonial Aesthetics: Unlearning and Relearning the Museum Through Pedro Lasch’s Black Mirror/Espejo Negro." Black Mirror/Expejo Negro (Exhibition Catalog). Ed. P Lasch and JA González. Durham: John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute/Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, 2010. 86-103. (Essay)

Mignolo, WD. "Immigrant Consciousness." Indigenous and Popular Thought in America. Ed. R Kusch. Duke University Press, 2010. xii-liv. (Chapter)

Mignolo, WD. "Coloniality at Large: The Western Hemisphere in the Colonial Horizon of Modernity." Teaching and Studying the Americas. Ed. CLE al. Palgrave-McMillan, 2010. 35-65.

Mignolo, WD. "Epistemic Disobedience: The Decolonial Option and the Meaning of Identity in Politics." Ed. L Reis. Universidad Fluminense Rio Janeiro, Brazil, 2010. 34-72.

Mignolo, WD. "La colonialidad: la cara oculta de la modernidad." Catalog of museum exhibit: Modernologies. Museo de Arte Moderno de Barcelona, December 2009.

Mignolo, WD. "Enduring Enchantment: Secularism and the Epistemic Privileges of Modernity." Postcolonial Philosophy of Religion. Ed. P Billmoria and AB Irvine. Springer Science, October 2009. 273-292.

Mignolo, WD. "Regeneración y reciclaje: descolonizar la ciencia y la tecnología para liberar la vida." Rastros y rostros de la biopolítica. Ed. IM Gonzalo. Editorial Anthropos, September 2009. 181-200.

Mignolo, W. "Desobediencia epistemica: retorica de la modernidad, logica de la colonialidad y gramatica de la descolonialidad." Globalization and the Decolonial Option. Ed. W Mignolo and A Escobar. Routledge, September 2009.


Mignolo, AWD. "Introduction to Knowledges and Scholars at Risk in the Post-Socialist World." South Atlantic Quarterly 105 (July 2006): 479-499.

Mignolo, WD, and Tlostanova, MV. "Theorizing from the borders: Shifting to geo- and body-politics of knowledge." Journal of Asian and African Studies 41.3 (June 1, 2006): 205-221. (Review) Full Text

Mignolo, W. "Citizenship, Knolwedge and the Limits of Humanity." American Literary History 18.2 (March 2006): 312-331.

Mignolo, WD. "Globalizacion, doble traduccion y interculturalidad." Revista Educativa Cultural Saint Andrew’s (Special Issue on "Colonialidad del Saber y Educación) 1.2 (2006): 52-61.

Mignolo, WD. "Introduction to Double Critique: Knowledges and Scholars at Risk in Post-Soviet Societies." Ed. W Mignolo and M Tlostanova. SAQ 105 (2006): 479-500.

Mignolo, WD. "La opción descolonial. El Pachakuti conceptual de nuestro tiempo." Ed. PG Casanova. Ön Line Dictionary (2006): 2600 words-2600 words. (Academic Article)

Mignolo, WD, and Tlostanova, M. "Theorizing from the Borders: Shifting to the Geo/Body Politics of Knowledge." European Journal of Social Theory 9.2 (2006): 205-221.

Mignolo, WD. "Prophets facing sidewise: The geopolitics of knowledge and the colonial difference." Social Epistemology 19.1 (March 1, 2005): 111-127. Full Text


Mignolo, WD. "Decolonizzare la conoscenza." Ed. L Fassi. Mensile di Cultura (December 12, 2010): 26-29. (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "At the end of the university as we know it." Campaign for the Public University (November 23, 2010). (Blog)

Mignolo, WD. "Existe algo asi como America Latina? Una entrevista con Franco Gamboa." PodCast Praxis Publica PodCast (November 11, 2010). (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "Esteticas Descoloniales, an interview with Walter Mignolo." Ed. E Publica and B Colombia. Esfera Publica, Web in the Public Spheres (November 10, 2010). (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "Conversando sobre colonialidad." Web Page UniCauca (Universidad del Cauca) Web UniCauca (September 7, 2010). (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "Só descolonização da subjetividade trará mudança à América Latina, diz Walter Mignolo." Deutsche Welle (June 8, 2010). (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "Without critical reflection on decoloniality, it would be difficult to supersed modernity (In Korean)." Kyosu Shinmoon, Faculty News Paper (June 7, 2010). (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "The problem is coloniality hidden under modernity (In Korean)." Hankyoreh (June 3, 2010). (Interview)