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, WD. "Coloniality: The Darker Side of Modernity." Modernologies. Contemporary Artists Researching Modernity and Modernism Catalog of the Exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, Barcelona, Spain. Ed. CS Breitwisser. MACBA, 2009. 39-49.

Mignolo, WD. "Frantz Fanon y la opción decolonial: el conocimiento y lo político." Frantz Fanon, Piel Negra, máscaras blancas. Ed. CPD Campo. 2009. 309-326.

Mignolo, WD, and Benfield, D. "Decolonizing digital media/digital media decolonization." Web Dossier. Ed. D Benfield. Center for Global Studies and the Humanities, Duke University, 2009. about 6 screens-about 6 screens.

Mignolo, WD. "Preamble: The Historical Foundation of Modernity/Coloniality and the Emergence of Decolonial Thinking." A Companion to Latin American Literature and Culture. April 15, 2008. 12-52. Full Text

Mignolo, WD. "Histórias locais/projetos globais. Colonialidade, saberes subalternos e pensamiento liminar." Translation into portugues. Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Universidad Mina Gerais, 2008.

Grosfóguel, WDMYR. "Ïntervenciones descoloniales: una breve introduccion." Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, Bogota, Colombia, 2008. 29-37.

Cairo, WDMYH. "Epílogo: Pensamiento descoloial y proyectos políticos descoloniales: genealogías, problemas y bases para la interfecundación." Vertientes Americanas del Pensamiento Descolonial. Trama Editorial, Madrid, 2008. 257-269.

Mignolo, WD. "The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference." Coloniality at Large. Latin America and the Postcolonial Debate. Ed. M Moraña, E Dussel, and A Jáuregui. Duke Univesrity Press, 2008. 225-258.

Lugones, WMEM, jiménez-Lucena, I, and Tlostanova, M. "Genero y Descolonialidad." El desprendimiento: pensamiento crítico y opción descolonial. Ediciones del Signo and Globalization and the Humanities Project, Duke University, 2008. 122-122.


Mignolo, W. "Silencios da autoridade: A colonialidade do ser e do saber." Grial: Revista Galega de Cultura 165 (2005): 26-31.

Mignolo, W. "Un paradigma otro’: Colonialidad global, pensamiento fronterizo y cosmopolitanismo crítico." Ed. G Verdesio. Latin American Subaltern Studies Revisited., Gustavo Verdesio, ed. Dispositio/n 52. American Journal of Cultural Histories and Theories. XXV (2005): 127-147.

Mignolo, W. "Prophets Facing Sidewise: The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference." Ed. EBJ Maffie. Social Epistemology 19 (2005): 111-128.

Mignolo, W. "Huntington’s Fear: Latinos/as in the Colonial Horizon of Modernity." Ed. R Grosfoguel, N Maldonado-Torres, and J Saldivar. (2005). (Academic Article)

Mignolo, W. "The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference." SAQ: The South Atlantic Quarterly 101.1 (2003): 57-96.

Mignolo, W. "The Maker of Race: Knowledge and the Differential/Colonial Accumulation of Meaning." Neohelicon, Acta Comparationis Litterarum Universarum XXX.1 (2003): 89-102.

Mignolo, WD. "The Enduring Enchantment: (Or the Epistemic Privilege of Modernity and Where to Go from Here)." South Atlantic Quarterly 101.4 (October 1, 2002): 927-954. Full Text

Mignolo, W. "The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference." SAQ: The South Atlantic Quarterly (2002): 56-96.


Mignolo, WD. "The decolonial era requires epistemic disobedience (a journal note) (In Korean)." The Daehak Shinmoon (May 30, 2010). (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "Critique to Kant and the decolonial genealogy of thoughts (In Korean)." Journalistic note in Kyosu Shinmoon (Faculty Journal) (May 30, 2010). (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "Desafio para um continente de muitas faces." O Globo (January 16, 2010). (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "El pensamiento descolonial. Desprendimiento y apertura." Ed. E Dussel and EMYC Bohorquez. (2010): 659-672.

Mignolo, WD. "La colonialidad en cuestion. Entrevista a Walter Mignolo por Norma Fernandez." Revista Sociedad 28 (2010): 16-28. (Interview)

Mignolo, W, Tlostanova, M, and Bozic, K. "It is about telling it foward." Web (2010). (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "Second Period of the Colonial Matrix of Power." Ed. MF Cartagena. An Online Journal of Art and Culture (2010). (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "Decolonizzare la conoscenza." Magazine d' arte della Gam 1 (2010): 26-29. (Interview)

Mignolo, WD, and Palermo, Z. "Arte y estetica en la encrucijada descolonial." (December 2009): pp 152-pp 152.