Walter Mignolo

Walter Mignolo

William Hane Wannamaker Professor of Romance Studies

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) 1974

Mignolo, W. D. “Museums in the Colonial Horizon of Modernity.” Proceeding, Annual CIMAM Conference (International Association of Museums of Modern Art), edited by Board of CIMAM, vol. CD-ROM, Museum of Modern Art, Barcelona, 2006.

Mignolo, W. D. “Postoccidentalismo: Las epistemologías fronterizas y el dilema de los estudios (latinoamericanos) de area.” America Latina: Giro Optico. Nuevas Visiones Desde Los Estudios Literarios y Culturales, edited by I. S. Prado, Puebla: Universidad de las Americas, 2006, pp. 191–218.

Mignolo, W. D. “El giro gnoseológico decolonial: la contribución de Aimé Césaire a la geopolítica y la corpo-política del conocimiento.” Aimé Césaire, Discurso Sobre El Colonialismo, edited by C. P. D. Campo, Editorial Akal, 2006, pp. 197–221.

Mignolo, W. “9) Africanity, Indianity, Latinity: Racism and the Colonial Matrix of Power.” Ltinité et Identité Haitienne: Entre La Tradition et La Modernité, edited by C. Mendes, Universidade Candido Mendes, 2005, pp. 50–73.

Mignolo, W. “8) Imperial/Colonial Metamorphosis: from the Ottoman and Spanish Empires to the US and European Union.” Islam, Latinité, Transmodernité, edited by C. Méndes, Universidad Cándido Méndes, 2005, pp. 91–145.

Mignolo, W. “2) Colonialidad global, capitalismo y hegemonía epistémica.” Culturas Imperiales. Experiencia y Representación En América, Asia y Africa, edited by R. Salvatore, Beatriz Viterbo Editora, 2005, pp. 55–88.

Mignolo, W. “Splendors and Miseries of "Science": Coloniality, Geopolitics of Knowledge, and Epistemic Pluri-versality.” Prudent Knowledge for a Decent Life, Forthcoming, edited by B. D. S. Santos, University of Wisconsin Press, 2005.

Mignolo, W. 3) 'Un paradigma otro’: Colonialidad global, pensamiento fronterizo y cosmopolitanismo crítico. Edited by G. Verdesio, The University of Michigan (Department of Romance Studies), 2005, pp. 127–47.

Mignolo, W. 7) Prophets Facing Sidewise: The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference. Edited by J. Maffie, Routledge, 2005, pp. 111–28.

Mignolo, W. “4) Preface.” Pensamiento Crítica y Matriz (de)Colonial, edited by C. Walsh, Editorial Abya-Yala/Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar, 2005, pp. 7–12.


Mignolo, W. “Philosophy and the Colonial Difference.” Philosophy Today (Section: Is There a Latin American Philosophy?), vol. 43, 1999, pp. 36–41.

Mignolo, W. “I am where I think: Epistemology and the Colonial Difference, a debate with Peter Hulme apropos of The Darker Side of the Renaissance.” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, vol. 8, 1999, pp. 234–48.

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, vol. 1, Venezuela: Espacios: Revista de Investigaciones Literarias y Culturales, 1998, pp. 11–32.

Mignolo, W. “Post-occidentalismo: el argumento desde América Latina.” Cuadernos Americanos, vol. 1, 1998, pp. 144–65.

Mignolo, W. “Los estudios subalternos, son posmodernos o poscoloniales.” Casa De Las Americas, Cuba, vol. 104/1996, 1997, pp. 20–40.

Mignolo, W. “Espacios geográficos y localizaciones epistemológicas.” Diseño. Revista Interacional De Pensamiento Latinoamericano, vol. Frankfurt,3, 1997, pp. 1–18.

Mignolo, W. “La razón postcolonial: Herencias coloniales y teorías postcoloniales.” Gragota, no. 1, Revista del Instituto de Legras. Programa de Pos-Graducao, Universidad Federal Fluminense, Rio de Janieiro, Brasil, 1997, pp. 7–30.


Mignolo, W. D. “La llaga latinoamericana. Entrevista con Claudio Pereda Madrid.” Diario La Nacion, 30 Sept. 2008.

Mignolo, W. D. “Delinking Epistemology. An Interview with Marina Grzinick.” Reartikulacija, vol. 5, no. Part II, Lujbjana, Slovenia, Sept. 2008.

Mignolo, W. D. “Economía Global, Mundo Policéntrico.” Patina 12, News Paper, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 12 Aug. 2008.

Mignolo, W. D. “La opcion descolonial. Desprendimiento y Apertura. Un Manifiesto y un caso..” Tabula Rasa. Revista De Humanidades, edited by Heriberto Cairo, vol. 8, Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, Bogota, Colombia, 2008, pp. 243–81.

Mignolo, W. D., and Freya Schiwy. “Double Translation. Transculturation and the Colonial Difference.” Información Y Comunicación. Revista Científica, edited by Carmen Espejo Colo, vol. 4, Universidad de Sevilla, 2008, pp. 12–34.

Mignolo, W. D. “Decolonial thoughts.” Online Blog, 2008.

Mignolo, W. D. “La Mercantilización de la Vida.” Pagina 12, News Paper, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2008.

Mignolo, W. D. “La Democracia y el Espíritu Global del Capitalismo.” Pagina 12, News Paper, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2008.

Mignolo, W. D. “Delinking Epistemology. An Interview with Marina Grzinick.” Reartikulacija, vol. 4, no. Part 1, REARTIKULACIJA is an art project of the group Reartikulacija (Marina Gržinić, Staš Kleindienst, Sebastjan Leban and Tanja Passoni)., 2008.

Mignolo, W. D., and A. Lastra. “La Idea de America Latina. Un Intercambio de Opiniones.” Tabula Rasa. Revista De Humanidades., vol. 9, Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, 2008, pp. 285–310.