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. “What is Wrong with the Theory of Literature?The Sign: Semiotics Around the World, edited by L. Matejka and R. Bailey, Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic Publications, 1978, pp. 305–07.

Mignolo, W. “La instancia del Y O en ’Las dos Historias’ de F. Hernández.” Felisberto Hernández Ante La Crítica Actual, edited by A. Sicard, Caracas: Mone Avila, 1977, pp. 171–85.

Mignolo, W. “Alguenos aspectos de la coherencia del discurso (literario).” The Analysis of Hispanic Texts: Current Trends in Methodology, edited by G. Keller and I. Teran, New York: Bilingual Press, 1975, pp. 273–99.

Mignolo, W. “La dispersión de la palabra.” Cesar Vallejo, edited by W. Ortega, Madrid: Taurus, 1972, pp. 470–95.


MIGNOLO, W. “THE NOTION OF COMPETENCE IN POETICS.” Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, no. 300, 1975, pp. 605–22.

Mignolo, W. “Los abatares del discurso mimético.” Chasqui: Revista De Literatura Latinoamericana, vol. 2, Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana, 1975, pp. 5–13.

Mignolo, W. “Los abatares del discurso mimético.” Chasqui, vol. V.2, 1975, pp. 5–13.

Mignolo, W. “La poètique et les changement littèraires.” Etudes Littèraires, 1975, pp. 241–68.

Mignolo, W., and W. van Wert. “The Semiology of Julia Kristeva and the Cinematographic Semiotic Practice.” Sub Stance, vol. 9, 1974.

Mignolo, W. “Reviews: La última mujer y el próximo combate (M. Cofino Lopez).” Caravelle, vol. 17, 1972.

Mignolo, W. “Cadaver Ileno de mundo (J.A. Mora).” Caravelle, vol. 18, 1972.

Mignolo, W. “La dispersión de la palabra (aproximación lingüística a un poema ’Vallejo’).” Neuva Revista De Filología Hispánica, vol. Tomo XXI, 1972, pp. 399–411.

Mignolo, W. “Ensayos de Literatura Argentina (Noé Jitrik).” Caravelle, vol. 16, 1971.


Mignolo, W. “Las geopolíticas de conocimiento y colonialidad del poder. Entrevista a Walter Mignolo.Indisciplinar Las Ciencias Sociales. Geopolíticas De Concimiento Y Colonialidad Del Poderperspectives Desde Lo Andino, 2002.

Mignolo, Walter. Capitalismo y geopolitica del concimiento. El eurocentrismo y la filosofia de la liberacion en el debate intellectual contemporaneo. Edited by Walter D. Mignolo, Buenos Aires: Editorial del Signo/Duke University, 2001.

Mignolo, W. D. “The Many Faces of Cosmo-polis: Border Thinking and Critical Cosmopolitanism.” Public Culture, vol. 12, no. 3, Duke University Press, 1 Oct. 2000, pp. 721–48. Crossref, doi:10.1215/08992363-12-3-721. Full Text

Mignolo, W. “Local Histories and Global Designs: An Interview with Walter Mignolo.” Discourse, vol. 22, no. 3, 2000, pp. 7–33.

Boone, Elizabeth Hill, and Walter Mignolo. Writing Without Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica and the Andes. Edited by Elizabeth Hill Boone and Walter D. Mignolo, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994.

Adorno, Rolena, and Walter Mignolo. “Colonial Discourse.” Dispositio, edited by Walter D. Mignolo and Rolena Adorno, 1989, pp. 36–38.

Goic, Cedomil, and Walter Mignolo. “Literature and Historiography in the New World.” Dispositio, edited by Walter D. Mignolo and Cedomil Goic, 1986, pp. 28–29.

Mignolo, W. Literatura Fantástica y Realismo Maravilloso. Madrid: La Muralla, 1983, pp. 50–50.

Mignolo, W. “Cartas, Crónicas y Relaciones del Descubrimiento y de la Conquista.” Historia De La Literatura Hispanoamericana (Epoca Colonial), edited by I. Madrigal, Cátedra, 1982, pp. 56–125.

Mignolo, W. “El decir de Mansilla.” Essays on Lucio Victorio Mansilla, vol. 5, Latin American Studies Program (Riverside), 1980, pp. 73–87.