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. Epistemic Disobedience: The Decolonial Option and the Meaning of Identity in Politics. Edited by L. Reis, vol. 22, Universidad Fluminense Rio Janeiro, Brazil, 2010, pp. 34–72.

Mingnolo, W. D. “El pensamiento descolonial. Desprendimiento y apertura.” El Pensamiento Filosofico Latinoamerica, Del Cabire y “Latino”. 1300-2000, translated by W. Mignolo, 2010, pp. 659–72.

Mignolo, W. D. “La colonialidad: la cara oculta de la modernidad.” Catalog of Museum Exhibit: Modernologies, Museo de Arte Moderno de Barcelona, 2009.

Mignolo, W. D. “Enduring Enchantment: Secularism and the Epistemic Privileges of Modernity.” Postcolonial Philosophy of Religion, edited by P. Billmoria and A. B. Irvine, Springer Science, 2009, pp. 273–92.

Mignolo, W. D. “Regeneración y reciclaje: descolonizar la ciencia y la tecnología para liberar la vida.” Rastros y Rostros de La Biopolítica, edited by Ignacio Mendiola Gonzalo, Editorial Anthropos, 2009, pp. 181–200.

Mignolo, W. “Desobediencia epistemica: retorica de la modernidad, logica de la colonialidad y gramatica de la descolonialidad.” Globalization and the Decolonial Option, edited by W. Mignolo and A. Escobar, Routledge, 2009.

Mignolo, W. D. “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, edited by C. S. Breitwisser, MACBA, 2009, pp. 39–49.

Mignolo, W. D. “Frantz Fanon y la opción decolonial: el conocimiento y lo político.” Frantz Fanon, Piel Negra, Máscaras Blancas, edited by Carlos Prieto del Campo, 2009, pp. 309–26.

Mignolo, W. D., and Dalida Benfield. “Decolonizing digital media/digital media decolonization.” Web Dossier, edited by Delida Benfield, vol. 3, Center for Global Studies and the Humanities, Duke University, 2009, pp. about6screens-about6screens.

Mignolo, W. D. “Preamble: The Historical Foundation of Modernity/Coloniality and the Emergence of Decolonial Thinking.” A Companion to Latin American Literature and Culture, 2008, pp. 12–52. Scopus, doi:10.1002/ Full Text


Mignolo, W. D. “Globalizacion, doble traduccion y interculturalidad.” Revista Educativa Cultural Saint Andrew’S (Special Issue on "Colonialidad Del Saber Y Educación), vol. 1, no. 2, Colegio Saint Andrew’s, La Paz, Bolivia, 2006, pp. 52–61.

Mignolo, W. D. “Introduction to Double Critique: Knowledges and Scholars at Risk.” Saq, vol. 105, Duke University Press, 2006, pp. 479–500.

Mignolo, W. D. “Introduction to Double Critique: Knowledges and Scholars at Risk in Post-Soviet Societies.” Saq, edited by Walter Mignolo and Madina Tlostanova, vol. 105, Duke University Press, 2006, pp. 479–500.

Mignolo, W. D. “Introduction to Double Critique.” Saq, edited by Walter Mignolo and Madina Tlostanova, vol. 105, Duke University Press, 2006, pp. 479–500.

Mignolo, W. D. “La opción descolonial. El Pachakuti conceptual de nuestro tiempo.Ön Line Dictionary, edited by Pablo Gonzales Casanova, Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, 2006, pp. 2600words-2600words.

Ed, Walter D. Mignolo, and Walter D. Mignolo Lasch P. Ïnterculturalidad, descolonización del estado y del conocimiento. Vol. 2nd volume, Editorial del Signos (Buenos Aires) and Center for Global Studies and the Humanities (Duke University), 2006.

Mignolo, W. D. “Prophets facing sidewise: The geopolitics of knowledge and the colonial difference.” Social Epistemology, vol. 19, no. 1, Mar. 2005, pp. 111–27. Scopus, doi:10.1080/02691720500084325. Full Text

Mignolo, W. “Silencios da autoridade: A colonialidade do ser e do saber.” Grial: Revista Galega De Cultura, vol. 165, 2005, pp. 26–31.

Mignolo, W. “Un paradigma otro’: Colonialidad global, pensamiento fronterizo y cosmopolitanismo crítico.” Latin American Subaltern Studies Revisited., Gustavo Verdesio, Ed. Dispositio/N 52. American Journal of Cultural Histories and Theories., edited by G. Verdesio, vol. XXV, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan (Department of Romance Studies), 2005, pp. 127–47.

Mignolo, W. “Prophets Facing Sidewise: The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference.” Social Epistemology, edited by E. B. J. Maffie, vol. 19, London: Routledge, 2005, pp. 111–28.


Mignolo, W. D. “The decolonial era requires epistemic disobedience (a journal note) (In Korean).” The Daehak Shinmoon, Seoul National University, 30 May 2010.

Mignolo, W. D. “Critique to Kant and the decolonial genealogy of thoughts (In Korean).” Journalistic Note in Kyosu Shinmoon (Faculty Journal), 30 May 2010.

Mignolo, W. D. The Idea of Latin America (translated into Korean). Editorial Greenbee, May 2010.

Mignolo, W. D. “Desafio para um continente de muitas faces.” O Globo, 16 Jan. 2010.

Mignolo, W. D. El pensamiento descolonial. Desprendimiento y apertura. Edited by Enriqiue Dussel and Eduardo Mendieta Y Carmen Bohorquez, Centro de Cooperacion Regional para la Educacion de Adultos en America Latina, 2010, pp. 659–72.

Mignolo, W. D. “La colonialidad en cuestion. Entrevista a Walter Mignolo por Norma Fernandez.” Revista Sociedad, vol. 28, Editorial Prometeo, 2010, pp. 16–28.

Mignolo, W., et al. “It is about telling it foward.” Web, 2010.

Mignolo, W. D. “Second Period of the Colonial Matrix of Power.” Latart.Com. an Online Journal of Art and Culture, edited by M. F. Cartagena, Globalization is a term increasingly being used in the field of art and cultural studies. We here at are aware of the apparent contradiction of what an online journal dedicated to a regional or geographically specific discussion might have wi, 2010.

Mignolo, W. D. “Decolonizzare la conoscenza.” Magazine D’ Arte Della Gam, vol. 1, 2010, pp. 26–29.