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., and Madina Tlostanova. Learning to Unlearn: Decolonial Reflections from Eurasia and the Americas. Ohio University Press, 2012.

Mignolo, W. D. Modernity and Decoloniality. Vol. Web, 2012.

Mignolo, W. D. El vuelco de la razón: diferencia colonial y pensamiento fronterizo. Ediciones del Signo and Center for Global Studies and the Humanities, Duke University, 2011.

Mignolo, W. D. De la hermenéutica y la semiosis colonial al pensar descolonial. Abya Yala y Universidad Politecnica Salesiana, 2011.

Mignolo, Walter. The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options. Duke University Press, 2011.

Mignolo, W. D. The idea of Latin America (Korean Translation). Editorial Greenbee, 2010.

Mignolo, W. D. Desobediencia epistemica: retorica de la modernidad, logica de la colonialidad y gramatica de la descolonialidad. Ediciones del Signos y Center for Global Studies and the Humanities, Duke U, 2010.

Mignolo, W. D., translator. Historia Locais-Projetos Globais. Colonialidade, saberes subalternos e pensamento liminar. Humanitas Editora UFMG, 2010.


Mignolo, W. “Decolonial Reflections: Art and archaeology.” Two Days After Forever. A Reader on the Choreography of Time, edited by O. Kholoif, Cytrus Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Art, 2015, pp. 172–92.

Mignolo, W. “Re:emerging, Decentring and Delinking: Shifting the Geographies of Sensing, Believing and Knowing.” Global Activism: Art and Conflict in the 21st Century, edited by P. Weibel, Published by ZKM / Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe & MIT Press, 2015, pp. 211–25.

Mignolo, W. “From 'Human Right' to 'Life Rights'.” Meaning of Rights. The Philosophy and Social Theory of Human Rights, edited by C. Douzinas and C. Gearly, Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 161–81.

Mignolo, W. “Democracia liberal, camino de la autoridad humana y transición al bien vivir.” Escuela Del Senado, edited by J. Pinto and J. et al., 2014, pp. 21–44.

Mignolo, W. Looking for the meaning of 'Decolonial Gesture'. Edited by D. Taylor and M. Gomez-Barris, Hemispheric Institute, 2014.

Kramer, Randall, et al. Preface. Malaria control and elimination programme in the People’s Republic of China. Vol. 86, 2014, pp. xvii–xxi. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-800869-0.22001-5. Full Text

Mignolo, W. “Further Thoughts on (De) Coloniality.” Postcoloniality-Decolonality-Black Critique.Joints and Fissures, edited by S. Broeck and C. Junker, The University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Mignolo, W. D. “On the colonization of Amerindian languages and memories.” Literacy Studies, Vol 1, Sage Publication, 2013.

Mignolo, W. D. “Desobediencia epistemica y descolonizacion de las ciencias sociales.” Formas de Comprender El Presente. Conferencias Reunidas de La Catedra Norbert Lechner, 2010-11, edited by Rodrigo Cordero Vega, Universidad Diego Portales, 2013.


Mignolo, W. D. “Spirit out of bounds returns to the East: The closing of the social sciences and the opening of independent thoughts.” Current Sociology, vol. 62, no. 4, Jan. 2014, pp. 584–602. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0011392114524513. Full Text

Mignolo, W. D. “The point of nonreturn: The reemergence of the disavowed.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, vol. 33, no. 3, Dec. 2013, pp. 268–71. Scopus, doi:10.1215/1089201x-2378058. Full Text

Mignolo, W. “The geopolitics of sensibility and knowledge on colonialism, border thinking and epistemic disobedience.” Revista De Filosofia (Spain), vol. 74, no. 2, Jan. 2013, pp. 7–23.

Mignolo, W. D., and R. Vazquez. “Introduction to Decolonial Aesthesis: Colonial Wounds, Decolonial Healings.” Social Text Periscope (Web Publication), Social Text, 2013, pp. 9–9.

Mignolo, W. “Geopolitics of sensing and kowing: on (de) coloniality, border thinking and epistemic disobedience.” Confero. Essays on Education, Philosophy and Politics, vol. 1, no. 1, 2013, pp. 129–50.

Mignolo, W. D., and Rolando Vazquez. “Decolonial AestheSis: Colonial Wounds/Decolonial Healings.” Social Text Periscope: An Online Journal—, Social Text Editors, New York, 2013.

Mignolo, W. D., and H. Liang. “From Global Colonialism to Global Coloniality: Introduction to a Round Table Discussion.” Localities, vol. 2, no. 2, Korean Studies Institute, Pusan, Korea, 2012, pp. 331–36.

Mignolo, W. D. “The Geopolitics of Sensing and Kowing.” Transversal. Multilingual Web Journal, 2012.

Mignolo, W. D. “Hacia la desoccidentalizacion.” Pagina 12, Pagina 12, Newspaer, 2012.

Mignolo, W. “Crossing gazes and the silence of the "Indians": Theodor de Bry and Guaman Poma de Ayala.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, vol. 41, no. 1, Dec. 2011, pp. 173–223. Scopus, doi:10.1215/10829636-2010-016. Full Text


Mignolo, W. El pensamiento des-colonial: desprendimiento y apertura. Un manifiesto. Center for Advanced Studies, Univeristy of Coimbra, Portugal., 2006.

Mignolo, W. Decolonial thoughts. Online blog.

Lugones, M., et al. Gender and Decoloniality.


Mignolo, W., et al. “Designs in the Borderland: And Exchange.” Designs in the Borderland, 2014, pp. 173–88.

Mignolo, W., and R. Gaztambide-Fernández. Decolonial options and aesthetic/aesthesic entanglements: an interview with Walter Mignolo. Vol. 311, 2014, pp. 196–212.

Mignolo, W., and A. Gortazar. “Pensar como sudaca.” La Diaria, 2014.

Mignolo, W. D. “Re-emerger. El retorno del este global y del sur global.” Causa Sur. Pensar Nuestra America. Revista De Pensamiento Politico, edited by A. Argumedo et al., vol. 5, Proyecto Sur, Dec. 2013, pp. 7–7.

Mignolo, W. “The Point of Non-Return:The Re-Emergence of the Disavowed.” Comparative Studies of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, vol. 3, no. 3, Dec. 2013, pp. 268–71.

Mignolo, W. D. “Enacting the archive, displacing the muses: on the Doha Museum of Islamic Art and the Singapoore Museum of Asian Civilizations.” Ibraaz. Contemporary Visual Culture in South Africa and the Middle East, edited by A. Dowen, vol. Platform 6, 6 Nov. 2013, pp. 4000words-4000words.

Mignolo, W. D. “Middelburg Decolonial Summer School.” Vimeo, Roosevelt Academy of the University of Utrecth, Nov. 2013.

Mignolo, Walter. “Geopolitics of sensing and knowing: On (de)coloniality, border thinking, and epistemic disobedience.” Confero Essays on Education Philosophy and Politics, vol. 1, no. 1, Linkoping University Electronic Press, 12 Mar. 2013, pp. 129–50. Crossref, doi:10.3384/confero.2001-4562.13v1i1129. Full Text

Mignolo, W. D. “Sensing Otherwise. A Story of an Exhibition.” Ibraaz. Contemporary Visual Culture in North Africa and the Middle East, edited by Anthony Downey, Kamel Lazaar Foundation, 2013.