Walter Mignolo

Walter Mignolo

William Hane Wannamaker Distinguished 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. “José de Acosta’s Historia Natural y Moral de Las Indias: Occidentalism, the Modern/Colonial World System and the First Stage of the Colonial Difference.” Natural and Moral History of the Indies, edited by Frances M. López-Morillas, trans. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002.

Mignolo, W. A revolucao teorica dos Zapatistas: seu historico, sua etica e suas consequencias politicas. Edited by A. Nascimento, 2002, pp. 173–206.

Mignolo, W. “Globalization and the Borders of Latinity.” The Latin American Perspectives on Globalization. Ethics, Politics and Alternative Visions, edited by Mario Saenz, New York: Bowman and Littlefield, 2002, pp. 77–101.

Mignolo, W. “Rethinking the Colonial Model.” Rethinking Literary History, edited by Linda Hutcheon and Mario Valdez, Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 153–93.

Mignolo, W. “Rethinking the Colonial Model.” Rethinking Literary History: A Dialogue on Theory, edited by Linda Hutcheon and Mario Valdés, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Mignolo, W. “La colonialidad a lo largo y a lo ancho: el hemisferio occidental en el horizonte colonial de la modernidad.” La Colonialidad Del Saber: Eurocentrismo y Ciencias Sociales. Perspectivas Latinomericanas, edited by Edgardo Lander, Buenos Aires: CLASCO, 2000, pp. 55–86.

Mignolo, W. “Coloniality at Large: Time and the Colonial Difference.” Time in the Making and Possible Futures, edited by E. R. Larreta, UNESCO-ISSC-EDUCAM, 2000, pp. 237–72.

Mignolo, W. “Signs and their Transmission: the Question of the Book in the New World.” A Book of the Book: Some Works and Projections about the Book and Writing, edited by J. Rothemberg and Steven Clay, New York: Granary Books, 2000, pp. 351–74.

Mignolo, W. “(Post) Occidentalism, (Post) Coloniality, and (Post) Subalternity.” Pre-Occupation of Postcolonial Studies, edited by Fawzia Afza-Khan and Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks, Duke University Press, 2000, pp. 86–118.

Mignolo, W. “Dussel’s Philosophy of Liberation: Ethics and the Geopolitics of Knowledge.” Thinking from the Underside of History: Enrique Dussel’s Philosophy of Liberation, edited by Linda Alcoff and Eduardo Mendieta, New York: Roman and Little Field, 2000, pp. 27–50.


Mignolo, W. “The Darker Side of the Renaissance: colonization and the discontinuity of the classical tradition.” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. xlv, 1992, pp. 808–28.

Mignolo, W. D. “Putting the Americas on the Map (Geography and the Colonization of Space).” Colonial Latin American Review, vol. 1, no. 1–2, Jan. 1992, pp. 25–63. Scopus, doi:10.1080/10609169208569788. Full Text

Mignolo, W. D. “On the Colonization of Amerindian Languages and Memories: Renaissance Theories of Writing and the Discontinuity of the Classical Tradition.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 34, no. 2, Jan. 1992, pp. 301–30. Scopus, doi:10.1017/S0010417500017709. Full Text

Mignolo, W. “Theoretical and fuzzy domains. An essay in conceptual elucidation.” Proceedings of the Xii Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association, vol. 5, Amsterdam: ludicium, 1991, pp. 253–64.

Mignolo, W. “Canon a(nd) cultural boundaries: or Whose canon are we talking about?Poetics Today, vol. 12, 1991, pp. 2–28.

Mignolo, W. “Canon and corpus: an alternative view of comparative literary studies in colonial situations.” Dedalus. Revista Portuguesa De Literatura Comparada, vol. 1, 1991, pp. 219–44.

Mignolo, W. “Review article. "A dialogue between the two cultures: Merrell’s Deconstruction Reframed.” Semiotica (Journal of the International Association of Semiotic Studies), vol. 81, 1990, pp. 135–44.

Mignolo, W. “La grafía, la voz y el silencio: la Relaciones Geográficas de Indias en el contexto de las letras virreinales.” Insula, Núumero Especial Preparado Por Enrique Pupo Walker, vol. 522, 1990, pp. 11–12.

Mignolo, W. “Colonial Situations, Geographical Discourses and Territorial Representations: Toward a Diatopical Understanding of Colonial Semiosis.” Speical Issue of Dispositio on Colonial Discourse, edited by R. Adorno and W. Mignolo, vol. XIV, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan, 1989, pp. 93–140.

Mignolo, W. “Invited comments, "On Brian Harley’s ’Deconstructing the Map’.” Cartographica (National Archives of Canada), vol. 26, 1989, pp. 109–14.


Mignolo, W. D. Thinking Decolonially: Citizenship, Knowledge and the Limits of Humanity. Edited by Maria Isabel Mendes de Almeida and Enrique Rodríguez Larreta, Universidad Candido Mendes, Rio de Janeiro, 2008, pp. 225–58.

Lastra, W. D. M. Y. A. “Walter Mignolo y La Idea de América Latina: Un Intercambio de Opiniones (entrevista con Antonio Lastra).” La Torre Del Virrey, edited by J. A. Y. A. Lastra, vol. 3, Otoño 2007,, Dec. 2007, pp. 88–110.

Mignolo, W. D. “Cambiando las éticas y las políticas del conocimiento: lógica de la colonialidad y postcolonialidad imperial.” Educación Superior, Interculturalidad Y Descolonización, edited by J. L. Saavedra, Programa de Investigación Estratética en Bolivia and Comité Ejecutivo de la Universidad Boliviana, Aug. 2007, pp. 55–86.

Mignolo, Walter D. “Una vida dedicada al proyecto de-colonial.” Nómadas, edited by Instituto de Estudios Sociales Contemporáneos, Universidad Central de Colombia, June 2007, pp. 186–98.

Mignolo, Walter D. Prólogo: Separar las palabras de las cosas. Editorial Gedisa, Barcelona, May 2007, pp. 15–26.

Mignolo, W. D. “Introduction: Coloniality of power and de-colonial thinking.” Cultural Studies, vol. 21, no. 2–3, 1 Mar. 2007, pp. 155–67. Scopus, doi:10.1080/09502380601162498. Full Text

Mignolo, Walter D. “The Rhetoric of Modernity, the Logic of Coloniality and the Grammar of De-coloniality.” Cultural Studies, edited by Walter D. Mignolo, vol. 21, Mar. 2007, pp. 449–514.

collaboration, Walter Mignolo editor in, and Arturo Escobar. “Globalization and the De-Colonial Option.” Cultural Studies, edited by Larry Grosbberg, vol. 21, Mar. 2007.

Mignolo, Walter D. “Ïslamophobia/Hispanophobia: The (re)Configuration of the Racia Imperial/Colonial Matrix".” Human Architecture. Journal of the Sociology of Self Knowledge, edited by Mohamad H. Tamdgidi, vol. V, University of Massachusets at Boston, Jan. 2007, pp. 13–28.

Mignolo, W. D. “On De-coloniality.” Wko (Worlds and Knowledges Otherwise), a Web Dossier, edited by W. D. Mignolo, vol. 2, Center for Global Studies and the Humanities, Duke University, 2007, p. Size:10.96KB(11-222bytes).