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. “Semiosis, Coherence and Universes of Meaning.” Proceedings of the Conference on Text, Connexity, Coherence, edited by J. Petofi et al., (Urbino, July 1984). Philadelphia: John Benjamin, 1989, pp. 477–99.

Mignolo, W. “Jorge Luis Borges.” Historia Crítica de La Literatura Hispanoamericana, edited by C. Goic, vol. III, Spain: Crítica-Grijalbo, 1988, pp. 285–340.

Mignolo, W. “Semiosis y universos de sentido.” La Crisis de La Literariedad, edited by Garrido Gallardo, Madrid: Taurus, 1987, pp. 47–65.

Mignolo, W. “La historia de la escritura y la escritura de la historia.” De La Crónica a La Nueva Narrativa Mexicana, edited by Merlin H. Forster and Julio Ortega, México: Oasis Editorial, 1986, pp. 13–28.

Mignolo, W. “Ficción Fantástuca y Mundos Posibles (Borges, Bioy y Blanqui).” Homenaje a Ana María Barrenechea, Madrid: Cátedra, 1985, pp. 481–86.

Mignolo, W. “Aesthetic Function, Literariness and Góngora’s Poetry.” Language and Literary Theory, edited by B. Stolz and L. Dolezel, Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic Publications, 1985, pp. 443–62.

Mignolo, W. “Discurso ensayístico y tipología textual.” El Ensayo Hispánico, edited by J Loveluck et al, University of South Carolina, 1983.

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

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. “La noción de competencia en poética.” Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, Madrid, 1976, pp. 605–22.

MIGNOLO, W. “AVATARS OF MIMETIC DISCOURSE - 'AL FILO DEL AGUA'.” Chasqui Revista De Literatura Latinoamericana, vol. 5, no. 2, 1976, pp. 5–13.

MIGNOLO, W. “CONNECTION, COHERENCE, AMBIGUITY - 'TODOS LOS FUEGOS EL FUEGO'.” Hispamerica Revista De Literatura, vol. 5, no. 14, 1976, pp. 3–26.

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, Walter. “La poétique et les changements littéraire.” Études Littéraires, vol. 8, no. 2–3, Consortium Erudit, 1975, pp. 241–241. Crossref, doi:10.7202/500372ar. Full Text

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

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


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.

Mignolo, W. Local Histories/Global Designs. Editorial Universitaria Minais Girais, Brazil, 2004.

Mignolo, W. “The Enduring Enchantment.” South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 101, 2002.

Mignolo, W. “José de Acosta's Historia Natural y Moral de Las Indias: Occidentalism, the Modern/Colonial World System and the First Stage of the Colonial Difference.” Natural and Moral History of the Indies, translated by F. M. López-Morillas, Duke University Press, 2002.