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., editor. Ïnterculturalidad, descolonización del estado y del conocimiento. El desprendimiento: pensamiento crítico y giro des-colonial. Vol. 2, Editorial del Signos and Center for Global Studies and the Humanities, Duke University, 2006.

Mignolo, W. D. La idea de America Latina. Translated by W. D. Mignolo, Gedisa, 2006.

Mignolo, W. The Idea of Latin America. Blackwell, 2005.

Mignolo, W. Capitalismo y geopolitica del conocimiento. Duke University, 2001.

Mignolo, W. D. The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality and Colonization. The University of Michigan Press, 1995.

Mignolo, W., and E. Hill Boone, editors. Writing Without Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica and the Andes. Duke University Press, 1994.


Mignolo, W. D. “Decolonial Cosmopolitanism and Dialogue Among Civilizations.” Routledge Handbook on Cosmoplitanism Studies, edited by Gerard Delanty, Routledge, 2012.

Mignolo, W. D. “Desobediencia Epistemica. Pensamiento independiente y libertad descolonial.” Observaciones Latinoamericanas, edited by S. Caba and G. Garcia, Ediciones Universidad de Valparaiso, Chile, 2012, pp. 71–97.

Mignolo, W. D. “The role of BRICS countries in the becoming world order: ¨humanity¨, imperial/colonial difference and the racial distribution of capital and knoweldge.” Humanity and Difference in the Global Age, UNESCO and Universidad Candido Mendes, Brazil, 2012, pp. 41–89.

Mignolo, W. D. “Para Des-Inventar America Latina.” Disturbios Culturales. Conversaciones Con Varios Autores, edited by José Osandón Y Lucía Vodanovic, Universidad Diego Portales, 2012, pp. 195–211.

Mignolo, W. “Decolonizing western epistemology/building decolonial epistemologies.” Decolonizing Epistemologies: Latina/o Theology and Philosophy, 2011, pp. 19–43.

Mignolo, W. D. Preface. 2011, pp. xiv–xvi.

Mignolo, W. D. “The Darker Side of the Enlightenment: A Decolonial Reading of Kant’s Geography.” Reading Kant’s Geography, edited by Stuart Elden and Eduardo Mendieta, SUNY Press, 2011, pp. 319–44.

Mignolo, W. D. “Museums in the Colonial Horizon of Modernity: Fred Wilson’s "Mining the Museum".” Fred Wilson: A Critical Reader, edited by Doro Globus, Ridinghouse, 2011, pp. 71–85.

Mignolo, W. D. “I Am Where I Think. Remapping the Order of Knowing.” The Creolization of Theory, edited by F. Lionnet and S. -. M. Shih, Duke University Press, 2011, pp. 159–92.

Mignolo, W. D. “El vuelco de la razón: sobre las revoluciones, independencias y rebeliones de finales del xviii y principios del xix.” Bicentenarios (Otros), Transiciones y Resistencias, edited by Norma Giarraca, La Ventana, 2011, pp. 27–38.


Mignolo, W. D. Enduring enchantment: Secularism and the epistemic privileges of modernity. Dec. 2009, pp. 273–92. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-90-481-2538-8_15. Full Text

Mignolo, W. D. “Cosmopolitanism and the Decolonial Option.” Studies in Philosophy and Education, Springer, Dec. 2009.

Mignolo, W. D. “Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and Decolonial Freedom.” Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 26, no. 7–8, Dec. 2009. Manual, doi:10.1177/0263276409349275. Full Text

Mignolo, W. D., and M. Tlostanova. “On Pluritopic Hermeneuics, Trans-modern Thinking and Decolonial Philosophy.” Encounters: International Journal for the Study of Culture and Society, vol. 1, no. 1, Zayed University, Oct. 2009, pp. 9–26.

Mignolo, W. D., and M. Tlostanova. “Global Coloniality and the Decolonial Option.” Kultur (Special Issue: Epistemologies of Transformation), vol. 6, Sept. 2009, pp. 130–47.

Mignolo, W. “La idea de América Latina (la derecha, la izquierda y la opción descolonial).” Crítica Y Emancipación, vol. 1, no. 2, May 2009, pp. 251–76.

Mignolo, W. D. “Who Speaks for the "Human" in Human Rights?Hispanic Issues on Line (Special Issue: Human Rights in Latin America and Iberian Cultures), edited by A. Forcinito et al., vol. 5, no. 1, 2009, pp. 7–25.

Mignolo, W. D. “The Power of Labeling.” Report for the Museum of World Culture, Goteborg, edited by Adriana Munoz and Museum of World Culture Curator, Museum of World Culture, 2009.

Mignolo, W. D. “Dispensable and Bare Lives: Coloniality and the Hidden Politica/Economy Agenda of Modernity.” Human Architecture. Journal of the Sociology of Self Knowledge, vol. 2, 2009, pp. 69–88.

Mignolo, W. D. “Revisando las Reglas del Juego.” Tabula Rasa. Revista De Humanidades. Bogota: Colombia, edited by Heriberto Cairo, vol. 8, Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, Bogota, Colombia, 2008, pp. 321–34.


Mignolo, W. D. “Dispatches from Hong Kong:The Myths of Democratic and Authoritarian States.” My Personal Blog, My personal blog, 10 Apr. 2012.

Mignolo, W. D. “The 'economy of more' is not longer sustainable.” World Public Forum Web Page, 3 Apr. 2012.

Mattison, C., and C. Mignolo W. “Neither Capitalism, nor Communism but Decolonization.” Critical Legal Thinking, Mar. 2012.

Mignolo, W. “Para Des-Inventar America Latina.” Disturbios Culturales. Conversaciones Con Varios Autores, Mar. 2012, pp. 195–211.

Mignolo, W. D. “De-Secularization as a Condition for the Dialogue of Civilizations.” World Public Forum Web Page, 2012.

Mignolo, W. D. “The Failures of Neoliberalism and the Road to the Future.” World Public Forum Web Page, World Public Forum Organization, 2012.

Mignolo, W. D. “Occidente: Surveying the Present, Rereading the Past, Building Pluriveral Futures.” Video Bioecontv and Occidente, 2012.

Mignolo, W. D. “Cinco Siglos Igual.” La Opinion on Line, La Opinion, newspaper, 11 Dec. 2011.

Mignolo, W. D. “Hacia la desoccidentalizacion.” Pagina 12, Argentine Newspaper, 2011.

Mignolo, W. D. “El reordenamiento global.” Pagina 12, Argentine Newspaper, 2011.