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. “Discursos pronunciados con el corazón caliente: conceptciones del habla y de la escritura en situaciones coloniales.” América Latina: Palabra, Literatura y Cultura. Temas de Historia Comparada, 1994.

Mignolo, W. “Literacy and the reconfiguration of memory: writing histories of people without history.” Literacy: Interdisciplinary Conversations, edited by Deborah Keller-Cohen, Ablex, 1994.

Mignolo, W. “Signs and Their Transmission: The Question of the Book in the New World.” Writing without Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica and the Andes, edited by E. H. Boone and W. D. Mignolo, Durham: Duke University Press, 1994, pp. 220–70.

Mignolo, W. “Afterword: Writing and Recorded Knowledge in Colonial and Postcolonial Situations.” Writing without Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica and the Andes, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994, pp. 292–312.

Mignolo, W. “Quand parler ne suffisait pas: illettrés, barbares, sauvages et cannibales.” L"Indien" Instance Discursive, edited by Antonio Gómez-Moriana et Daniele Trottier, Montreal: Les Editions Balzac, 1993, pp. 149–84.

Mignolo, W. “La colonización del lenguaje y la memoria: complicidades de la letra, el libro y la historia.” Discursos Sobre La “Invención” de América, edited by Iris M. Zavala and Iris M. coordinadora, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1993, pp. 182–220.

Mignolo, W. “When speaking was not good enough: illiterates, barbarians, savages and cannibals.” Amerindian Images and the Legac of Columbus, edited by R. Jara and N. Spadaccini, Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 1992, pp. 312–45.

Mignolo, W. “Zur Frage der Schriftlichkeit in der Legitimation der Conquista.” Der Eroberte Kontinent, edited by Karl Kohut and Karl Hrsg, Frankfurt: Vervuert, 1991, pp. 86–102.

Mignolo, W. “One Hundred Years of Solitude and the Undergraduate Curriculum.” Approaches to Teaching Gabriel Garcia Marquez ’One Hundred Years of Solitude’, edited by M. Valdez, MLA Publications, 1990, pp. 63–78.

Mignolo, W. “Teorías literarias o de la literatura? Qué son y para que sirven?Teorías Literarias En La Actudalidad, edited by Graciela Reyes, Madrid: Fundación Ortega/El Arquero, 1989, pp. 41–78.


Mignolo, W. “Qué clase de textos son géneros? Fundamentos de topología textual.” Acta Poética, vol. 4–5, 1982, pp. 25–51.

Mignolo, W. “La figura del poeta en la lírica de vanguardia.” Revista Iberoamericana, vol. 118–119, 1982, pp. 131–48.

Mignolo, W. “El metatexto historiográfico y la historiografía indiana.” Mln, vol. 94, 1981, pp. 358–402.

Mignolo, W. “Semantización de la ficción literaria.” Dispositio, vol. 15–16, 1980, pp. 85–127.

Mignolo, W. “Paradiso: derivación y red.” Texto Crítico, 1979, pp. 90–111.

Mignolo, W. “La teoría en el campo de los Estudios Literarios.” Dispositio, vol. 7–8, 1978, pp. 1–20.

MIGNOLO, W. “CONCEPT OF THEORY IN FIELD OF LITERARY-STUDIES.” Dispositio Revista Hispanica De Semiotica Literaria, vol. 3, no. 7–8, 1978, pp. 1–20.

Mignolo, W. “Emergencia, espacios, ’mundos posibles’: las propuestas epistemológicas de J.L. Borges.” Revista Iberoamericana, vol. 100–101, 1977, pp. 357–79.

Mignolo, W. “Aspectos del cambio literario.” Revista Iberoamericana, 1976, pp. 31–49.

Mignolo, W. “Conexidad, coherencia, ambigüedad: Todos los guegos el fuego’.” Hispamérica, 1976, pp. 3–26.


Mignolo, W. D. “Op-ed: “Another way to democracy”.” Associacao Brazileira De Grandes Consumidores Industriais De Energia, 2006.

Mignolo, W. D. “Op-ed: “Populism or another rout to democracy”.” Alai Amlatina, 2006.

Mignolo, W. D. “Op-ed: “Bolivian New President is Something Altogether Different”.” Duke in the News, 2006.

Mignolo, W. D. “Op-ed: “Nationalization of Natural Gas in Bolivia”.” Resources Center of the Americas.Org, 2006.

Mignolo, W. D. “Op-ed “Nationalization of Natural Gas in Bolivia”.” Canadian Dimension, 2006.

Mignolo, W. D. “Op-ed: “Populism or another rout to democracy”.” Voltaire.Net, 2006.

Mignolo, W. D. “Op-ed: “El pensamiento descolonial”.” Alai Amlatina, 2006.

Mignolo, W. D. “Op-ed: “El pensamiento descolonial”.” Oldep.Net (Observatorio Latino Americano De Políticas Educacionales, Brazil, 2006.

Mignolo, W. D. “Op-ed: “El pensamiento descolonial”.” Amauta.In.Br, 2006.

Mignolo, W. D. “Op-ed: 12) “Giro a la izquierda o giro descolonial? Evo Morales en Bolivia”.” Revista Del Sur, 2006, pp. 164–164.