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. “Dussel’s Philosophy of Liberation: Ethics and the Geopolitics of Knowledge.” Thinking from the Underside of History: Enrique Dussel’s Philosophy of Liberation, edited by Linda Alcoff and Eduardo Mendieta, New York: Roman and Little Field, 2000, pp. 27–50.

Mignolo, W. “Diferencia colonial y razón postoccidental.” La Reestructuración de Las Ciencias Sociales En América Latina, Bogota: Universidad Javerina Press (Pensar: Instituto de Estudios Sociales y Culturales, 2000, pp. 3–28.

Mignolo, W. “La storiografia nascente: forme della memoria nelle tradizione amerindie e nella tradizione europea.” Storia Della Civilita Letteraria Ispano-Americana, edited by Dario Puccini E Saul Yurkievich, Torino: UTET, 2000, pp. 75–90.

Mignolo, W. “La colonialidad a lo largo y a lo ancho: el hemisferio occidental en el horizonte colonial de la modernidad.” La Colonialidad Del Saber: Eurocentrismo y Ciencias Sociales. Perspectivas Latinomericanas, edited by Edgardo Lander, Buenos Aires: CLASCO, 2000, pp. 55–86.

Mignolo, W. “Globalización, procesos civilizatorios, y la reubicación de lenguas y culturas.” Pensar (En) Los Intersticios, Teoría y Practica de La Critica Postcolonial, edited by Santiago Castro-Gómez et al., Bogota: Universidad Javeriana, 1999.

Mignolo, W. “Linguistic Maps, Literary Geographies, Cultural Landscapes.” History and Recognition, edited by Doris Sommer, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999.

Mignolo, W. “Globalization, Civilization Processes and the Relocation of Languages and Cultures.” The Cultures of Globalization, edited by F. Jameson and M. Miyoshi, Durham: Duke University Press, 1998.

Mignolo, W. “Globalization, Civilization Processes and the Relocation of Languages and Cultures.” The Cultures of Globalization, edited by F. Jameson and M. Miyoshi, Durham: Duke University Press, 1998.

Sulla, E. E., editor. “Los cánones y (mas allá de) las fronteras culturales (o de quien es el canon del que hablamos) Spanish Translation.” El Canon Literario, translated by W. D. Mignolo, Lecturas, 1998, pp. 238–70.

Mignolo, W. “Post-occidentalismo: el argumento desde América Latina.” Teorías Sin Disciplina: Latinamericanismo, Poscolonialidad y Globalizació En Debate, edited by W. Castro- Gómez and E. Mendieta, Miguel Ángel Porrúa, 1998, pp. 26–49.


Mignolo, W. “Canon a(nd) cultural boundaries: or Whose canon are we talking about?Poetics Today, vol. 12, 1991, pp. 2–28.

Mignolo, W. “Canon and corpus: an alternative view of comparative literary studies in colonial situations.” Dedalus. Revista Portuguesa De Literatura Comparada, vol. 1, 1991, pp. 219–44.

Mignolo, W. “Review article. "A dialogue between the two cultures: Merrell’s Deconstruction Reframed.” Semiotica (Journal of the International Association of Semiotic Studies), vol. 81, 1990, pp. 135–44.

Mignolo, W. “La grafía, la voz y el silencio: la Relaciones Geográficas de Indias en el contexto de las letras virreinales.” Insula, Núumero Especial Preparado Por Enrique Pupo Walker, vol. 522, 1990, pp. 11–12.

Mignolo, W. “Colonial Situations, Geographical Discourses and Territorial Representations: Toward a Diatopical Understanding of Colonial Semiosis.” Speical Issue of Dispositio on Colonial Discourse, edited by R. Adorno and W. Mignolo, vol. XIV, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan, 1989, pp. 93–140.

Mignolo, W. “Invited comments, "On Brian Harley’s ’Deconstructing the Map’.” Cartographica (National Archives of Canada), vol. 26, 1989, pp. 109–14.

Mignolo, W. “Anáhuac y sus Otros: la cuestión de la letra en el Nuevo Mundo.” Revista De Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana, vol. 28, 1988, pp. 29–53.

Mignolo, W. “Diálogo y Conversación.” Diálogos Hispánicos, vol. 6, Universidad de Amsterdam, 1987, pp. 3–26.

Mignolo, W. “El mandato y la ofrenda: Descripción de la Provincia y Ciudad de Tlaxcala de Diego Muñoz Camargo y las ’Relaciones de Indias.” Neuva Revista De Filología Hispánica, vol. XXXV, 1987, pp. 451–84.

Mignolo, W. “La lengua, la letra, el territorio (o la crisis de los estudios literarios coloniales).” Dispositio, vol. 28, 1986, pp. 135–60.


Mignolo, W. D. The Splendors and Miseries of ’Science’: Coloniality, Geopolitics of Knowledge and Spistemic Pluriversality. Edited by B. D. S. Santos, New York/Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2007, pp. 353–75.

Mignolo, W. D. El pensamiento descolonial: desprendimiento y apertura. Edited by R. Grosfoguel and S. Cástro-Gómez, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana-Instituto Pensar, Bogota, Colombia, 2007, pp. 25–46.

Mignolo, W. D. “The De-Colonial Option and the Meaning of Identity in Politics.” Anales. Instituto Iberoamericano, Universidad De Goteborg, Sweden, edited by M. -. L. Follér and A. Director, Goteborg University, 2007, pp. 43–72.

Mignolo, W. “The Many Faces of Cosmo-polis: Border Thinking and Critical Cosmopolitanism.” The “Universal” in Human Rights: A Precondition for a Dialogue of Cultures. Xvth Conference of the Académie De La Latinité. Reference Text, 2007, pp. 225–78.

Mignolo, W. “El pensamiento descolonial: Reflexiones finales.” Comentario International (Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar, Quito, Ecuador), vol. 7, 2007, pp. 186–94.

Mignolo, W. “The De-Colonial Option and the Meaning of Identity in Politics.” Studies in Honor of Heitor Martins, 2007, pp. 11–31.

Mignolo, W. D. “Citizenship, knowledge, and the limits of humanity.” American Literary History, vol. 18, no. 2, 1 Dec. 2006, pp. 312–31. Scopus, doi:10.1093/alh/ajj019. Full Text

Mignolo, W. D. “On the Idea of Latin America.” Lucero (Journal of the Graduate Students in Spanish and Portuguese, University of California at Berkeley), edited by M. Gonzáles, vol. 17, Nov. 2006, pp. 11–36.

Ed, Walter D. Mignolo. Descolonialidad del Ser y del Saber. Videos Indígenas y los Límites Coloniales de la Izquierda. Edited by Buenos Aires Editorial del Signo et al., Mar. 2006.