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. “1) Globalización, procesos civilizatorios y reubicación de las lenguas y las culturas.” Globalización y Diversidad Cultural. Una Mirada Desde América Latina, edited by R. O. Pajuelo and P. Sandoval, IEP ediciones, 2005, pp. 203–28.

Mignolo, W. “2) Colonialidad global, capitalismo y hegemonía epistémica.” Culturas Imperiales. Experiencia y Representación En América, Asia y Africa, edited by R. Salvatore, Beatriz Viterbo Editora, 2005, pp. 55–88.

Mignolo, W. “Splendors and Miseries of "Science": Coloniality, Geopolitics of Knowledge, and Epistemic Pluri-versality.” Prudent Knowledge for a Decent Life, Forthcoming, edited by B. D. S. Santos, University of Wisconsin Press, 2005.

Mignolo, W. 3) 'Un paradigma otro’: Colonialidad global, pensamiento fronterizo y cosmopolitanismo crítico. Edited by G. Verdesio, The University of Michigan (Department of Romance Studies), 2005, pp. 127–47.

Mignolo, W. 7) Prophets Facing Sidewise: The Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Colonial Difference. Edited by J. Maffie, Routledge, 2005, pp. 111–28.

Mignolo, W. D. “Philosophy and the colonial difference.” Latin American Philosophy: Currents, Issues, Debates, 2003, pp. 80–86.

Mignolo, W. “Capitalism and Geopolitics of Knowledge: Latin American Social Thought and Latino/American Studies.” Critical Latin American and Latino Studies, edited by Juan Poblete, University of Minnesota Press, 2003, pp. 32–75.

Mignolo, W., and Freya Schiwy. “Double Translation: Transculturation and the Colonial Difference.” Translation and Ethnography: The Anthropological Challenge of Intercultural Understanding, edited by Tullio Maranhao and Bernhard Streck, University of Arizona Press, 2003, pp. 3–30.

Mignolo, W. “Rethinking the Colonial Model.” Rethinking Literary History, edited by Linda Hutcheon and Mario Valdez, Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 153–93.

Mignolo, W. “Colonialidad global, capitalismo y hegemonía epistémica.” Indisciplinar Las Ciencias Sociales, Geopolíticas Del Conocimiento y Colonialidad Del Poder, Quito: Universidad Andina/Abya Yala, 2002, pp. 215–44.


Mignolo, W. D. “Cultural studies questionnaire.” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, vol. 7, no. 1, Jan. 1998, pp. 111–19. Scopus, doi:10.1080/13569329809361927. Full Text

Mignolo, W. “La razón postcolonial: Herencias coloniales y teorías postcoloniales.” Gragota, no. 1, Revista del Instituto de Legras. Programa de Pos-Graducao, Universidad Federal Fluminense, Rio de Janieiro, Brasil, 1997, pp. 7–30.

Mignolo, W. “Los estudios subalternos, son posmodernos o poscoloniales.” Casa De Las Americas, Cuba, vol. 104/1996, 1997, pp. 20–40.

Mignolo, W. “Espacios geográficos y localizaciones epistemológicas.” Diseño. Revista Interacional De Pensamiento Latinoamericano, vol. Frankfurt,3, 1997, pp. 1–18.

Mignolo, W. D. “Linguistic maps, literary geographies, and cultural landscapes: Languages, languaging, and (trans)nationalism.” Modern Language Quarterly, vol. 57, no. 2, June 1996, pp. 181–96. Scopus, doi:10.1215/00267929-57-2-181. Full Text

Mignolo, W. “Decires fuera de lugar: sujetos dicentes, roles sociales y formas de inscripción.” Revista De Critica Literaria Latinoamericana, vol. 41, 1995, pp. 9–32.

Mignolo, W. “Human Understanding and (Latin) American interests.” Poetics Today, vol. 16, 1995, pp. 171–214.

Mignolo, W. “Occidentalizacion, imperialismo, globalización: herencias coloniales y teorías postcoloniales.” Revista Iberoamericana, vol. 179071, 1995, pp. 27–40.


Mignolo, W. D. Thinking Decolonially: Citizenship, Knowledge and the Limits of Humanity. Edited by Maria Isabel Mendes de Almeida and Enrique Rodríguez Larreta, Universidad Candido Mendes, Rio de Janeiro, 2008, pp. 225–58.

Mignolo, W. D. La opción descolonial. Desprendimiento y apertura. Un Manifiesto y un Caso. Edited by Heriberto Cairo Y Walter Mignolo, Trama Editorial, Madrid, 2008, pp. 175–208.

Mignolo, W. D. “Revisando las reglas del juego.” Tabula Rasa. Revista De Humanidades. Bogota: Colombia 8, edited by H. C. Y. W. Mignolo, 2008, pp. 321–34.

Mignolo, W. D. “La opcion descolonial. Desprendimiento y Apertura. Un Manifiesto y un caso.Tabula Rasa. Revista De Humanidades, edited by Heriberto Cairo, vol. 8, Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, Bogota, Colombia, 2008, pp. 243–81.

Mignolo, W. D., and Freya Schiwy. “Double Translation. Transculturation and the Colonial Difference.” Información Y Comunicación. Revista Científica, edited by Carmen Espejo Colo, vol. 4, Universidad de Sevilla, 2008, pp. 12–34.

Mignolo, W. D. “Decolonial thoughts.” Online Blog, 2008.

Mignolo, W. D. “La Mercantilización de la Vida.” Pagina 12, News Paper, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2008.

Mignolo, W. D. “La Democracia y el Espíritu Global del Capitalismo.” Pagina 12, News Paper, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2008.

Mignolo, W. D. “Delinking Epistemology. An Interview with Marina Grzinick.” Reartikulacija, vol. 4, no. Part 1, REARTIKULACIJA is an art project of the group Reartikulacija (Marina Gržinić, Staš Kleindienst, Sebastjan Leban and Tanja Passoni)., 2008.

Mignolo, W. D., and A. Lastra. “La Idea de America Latina. Un Intercambio de Opiniones.” Tabula Rasa. Revista De Humanidades., vol. 9, Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, 2008, pp. 285–310.