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. D. “Histórias locais/projetos globais. Colonialidade, saberes subalternos e pensamiento liminar.” Translation into Portugues, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Universidad Mina Gerais, 2008.

Grosfóguel, WD Mignolo Y. Ramón. Ïntervenciones descoloniales: una breve introduccion. Vol. 9, Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, Bogota, Colombia, 2008, pp. 29–37.

Cairo, WD Mignolo Y. Heriberto. “Epílogo: Pensamiento descoloial y proyectos políticos descoloniales: genealogías, problemas y bases para la interfecundación.” Vertientes Americanas Del Pensamiento Descolonial, Trama Editorial, Madrid, 2008, pp. 257–69.

Mignolo, W. D. “The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference.” Coloniality at Large. Latin America and the Postcolonial Debate, edited by M. Moraña et al., Duke Univesrity Press, 2008, pp. 225–58.

Lugones, Walter Mignolo editor Maria, et al. “Genero y Descolonialidad.” El Desprendimiento: Pensamiento Crítico y Opción Descolonial, vol. 4, Ediciones del Signo and Globalization and the Humanities Project, Duke University, 2008, pp. 122–122.

Mignolo, W. D. “Human Understanding and (Latin) American Interests - The Politicsand Sensibilities of Geohistorical Locations.” A Companion to Postcolonial Studies, 2007, pp. 180–202. Scopus, doi:10.1002/9780470997024.ch9. Full Text

Ose, E. D., editor. “Geopolíticas del conocimiento y diferencia colonial.” Geopolíticas de La Animación: Catalogo de Exposición de Arte, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, translated by W. D. Mignolo, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Andaluz, 2007, pp. 12-39and90-116-12-39and90-116.

Reis, L., editor. “Epistemic Disobedience: The Decolonial Option and the Meaning of Identity in Politics (Translated into Portuguese).” Gragoatá (Revista de La Escuela de Postgrado, Universiadad Fluminense, Rio Janeiro, Brazil), translated by W. Mignolo, Universidad Fluminense Rio Janeiro, 2007, pp. 34–72.

Mignolo, W., and M. Tlostanova. “The Logic of Coloniality and the Limits of Postcoloniality.” The Postcolonial and the Global, edited by J. Hawley and R. Krishnaswamy, University of Minnessota Press, 2007.

Mignolo, W. D. “The Many Faces of Cosmo-Polis: Border Thinking and Critical Cosmopolitanism.” The ’Universal’ in Human Rights: A Precondition for a Dialogue of Cultures, edited by C. Mendez, UNESCO-University Candido Mendes, 2007, pp. 225–78.


Mignolo, W. Huntington’s Fear: Latinos/as in the Colonial Horizon of Modernity. Edited by Ramon Grosfoguel et al., Paradigm Press, 2005.

Mignolo, W. “The Maker of Race: Knowledge and the Differential/Colonial Accumulation of Meaning.” Neohelicon, Acta Comparationis Litterarum Universarum, vol. XXX, no. 1, 2003, pp. 89–102.

Mignolo, W. D. “The Zapatistas's theoretical revolution: Its historical, ethical, and political consequences.” Review, vol. 25, no. 3, Dec. 2002, pp. 245–75.

Mignolo, W. D. “The Enduring Enchantment: (Or the Epistemic Privilege of Modernity and Where to Go from Here).” South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 101, no. 4, Duke University Press, Oct. 2002, pp. 927–54. Crossref, doi:10.1215/00382876-101-4-927. Full Text

Mignolo, W. D. “El pensamiento des-colonial: desprendimiento y apertura. Un manifiesto.” Tristestópicos, 2002.

Mignolo, W. “The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference.” Saq: The South Atlantic Quarterly, Duke University Press, 2002, pp. 56–96.

Mignolo, W. D. “The geopolitics of knowledge and the colonial difference.” South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 101, no. 1, Jan. 2002, pp. 56–96. Scopus, doi:10.1215/00382876-101-1-57. Full Text

Mignolo, W. “Latin American Cultural Studies?Revista Iberoamericana, 2002.

Mignolo, W. “Géopolitique de la connaissance, colonialité du pouvoir et différence coloniale.” Multitudes, Sept. 2001, pp. 56–71.

Mignolo, W. “La revolución teórica del zapatismo: sus consecuencias históricas, éticas y políticas.” Orbs Tertius: Revista De Teoría Y Critica Literaria, vol. 5, La Plata, Argentina: Unversidad de la Plata, Feb. 2000.


Mignolo, W. D., and Zulma Palermo. Arte y estetica en la encrucijada descolonial. Buenos Aires: Ediciones del Signo and Center for Global Studies and the Humanities, Dec. 2009, pp. pp152–pp152.

Mignolo, W. D. “Grenzdenken un die decoloniale Option.” Bildpunk, edited by Jens Kastner, Nov. 2009.

Mignolo, W. D. “The communal and the declonial.” Turbulence. Ideas for Movement, edited by Rodrigo Nunes, vol. 5, Turbulence Organization. Published by even people based in four countries,, Nov. 2009, pp. 29–31.

Mignolo, W. D., and Arturo Escobar. Globalization and the Decolonial Option. Sept. 2009, p. pp.415-p.415.

Mignolo, W. D., and Alejandro de Oto. La teoria politica en la encrucijada descolonial. Ediciones del Signo and Center for Global Studies and the Humanities, Duke U., July 2009, pp. 160–160.

Mignolo, W. D. At the end of the university as we know it. 17 May 2009.

Mignolo, W. D. “Retorica del desarollo y colonialidad del saber.” Pagina 12 (Newspaper, Buenos Aires), Pagina 12, 15 May 2009.

Mignolo, W. D., and M. Grzinic. “Delinking Epistemology from Capitalism and Pluriversality.” Reartikulacija, vol. 6, no. 6, Reartikulacija, Mar. 2009, pp. 1–3.

Mignolo, W. D. “Barack y Evo.” Pagina 12, News Paper, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 6 Dec. 2008.