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Walter Mignolo, William H. Wannamaker Professor of Romance Studies and Professor of Romance Studies and Cultural Anthropology

Walter Mignolo

The previous categories (Comparative Philosophy, etc.) do not reflect exactly my work. But that is what happened when you have to define yourself according to some else categories. They are institutional categories that do not allow for creativity and force you into the box-cage of orthodox scholarship. My work (thinking, writing, researching, teaching, networking) in the past five years (of which I do not foresee its closing yet), has been based, first, on the premise that “research” cannot be an isolated category of intellectual labor. This part was deleted----And secondly has been devoted to unveil the logic of coloniality (a logic of oppression, of expendability of life—“human and nature”-- hidden under the Salvationist rhetoric of modernity. Consequently, my work has been aiming and will continue to aim, to de-colonial projects going on around the world, moving away and disengaging from the belief in that history is one, although it admits diversity of interpretations. There interpretation however than have been silenced and histories that have been discarded by the pervasive work of the coloniality of power, of knowledge and of being. What is going on in South America, in the re-emergent Chicano/Latino/as social movement in the U.S., and around the world are some of the signs of a global and massive shift in the geo- and body-politics of thinking. My work (that is, my thinking), has been oriented and focused on the dangerous celebration of expertise an excellence to the expense of experience, consciousness and thinking (critical for some, de-colonial for others). My concern has been and continued to be that expertise and excellence drives us to a managerial concept and practice of democracy; while experience, consciousness (double consciousness like in Du Bois; mestiza consciousness like in Anzaldúa; the consciousness awakening of Rigoberta Menchú (y así me nació la conciencia); the radical mestizo consciousness Rodolfo Kush, and Argentine philosopher of German descent) are the necessary orientation for a de-colonial shift toward a future of dialogue toward pluri-versality, rather than the monologue toward uni-versality. My latest manuscript, I Am Where I Think: Globalization, Epistemic Disobedience and the De-colonial Option (forthcoming, Duke University Press). Once we realize that “I think, therefore I am” took us (all of us, in the planet) to believe that thinking prevails over existence, experience, consciousness, is just a principle that benefits some and damages many, we learn also that the future couldn’t be imagined and thought out from the legacy of European philosophical and scientific legacies. It is necessary then to take seriously “the geo-politics” and the “body politics of thinking”, that is of places and people who were declared inept to think and to govern by themselves (bodies of color, primitive, barbarians, and places beyond the last stage of history---third world, underdeveloped nations, emergent economies, etc.). This manuscript closes a cycle that started with The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality and Colonization (1995), and continued with Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knoweldges and Border Thinking (2000). In the next five to ten years, my work will follow to diverse by complimentary path: I have already began to think and write on a trade-book titled Globalization and the Beautiful Life: Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. Las Terrenas, a small town basically of people from African-descent, with a significant population of Haitian immigrants, is being surrounded by an increasing tourism of European provenance (US prefer Punta Cana), will allow me to look at globalization from the receiving end. Real state business, exploitation of labor, professional prostitution, racism, colonial memories and imperial realities, all combine to make of Las Terrenas one single place to understand the imperial/colonial histories of the Americas and the “beautiful life” that globalization makes possible. The second path, that I have already also started, is the writing of op-eds. The historical processes that we are witnessing in South America (a consequence of the consequences and the beautiful life of neo-liberal globalization since Augusto Pinochet, that pick up in the nineties and collapsed at the beginning of the 21st centuries), are just at the beginning. The debates around Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa (to name just the government that are breaking new ground in political theory and political economy, and that are making concrete the possibilities of decolonial options), are already heated and will continue to be. There is, at the same time, a notable disorientation among the general public on what is going on. “Turn to the left” has been the most common expression, and the most clear example that neither the traditional right nor the traditional left (or Marxist persuasion) are at a lost to understand something that is beyond their historical experiences. Here too, expertise is proven limited to understand, from outside and from above, a history that (like the missionaries of the sixteenth centuries), is totally alien to their own experience.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  125B Friedl Building, Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Teaching (Fall 2015):

    Carr 106, TuTh 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
    Friedl Bdg 118, M 04:40 PM-07:10 PM
    (also cross-listed as CULANTH 590S.01, ROMST 690S.01)
Teaching (Spring 2016):

    Crowell 107, TuTh 03:05 PM-04:20 PM
    (also cross-listed as CULANTH 367S.01, ICS 460S.01, LSGS 412S.01)
    Carr 106, M 04:40 PM-07:10 PM
    (also cross-listed as AMES 690S.01, CULANTH 590S.01, ROMST 690S.01)
Office Hours:

By appointment

PhD, Semiotics and Literary Theory (Doctorat de Troisiéme Cycle)École des Hautes Études (EPHE) as its VI Section: Sciences Économiques et Sociales, Paris, France1974
Ph.D.Ecole Des Hautes Etudes (France)1973
Licenciatura in Philosophy and Literature--Filosofía y LetrasUniversidad de Córdoba1968

Decolonial and Post-colonial Studies
Globalization, Postmodernity, Contemporaneity
Comparative Studies: Translation, Travel Narratives, Trans-Culturality
Critical Theory, Philosophy
Early Modern
Modern and Contemporary
Latin-American Studies
Caribbean Studies
Research Interests:

Global Coloniality, Critical Cosmopolitanism, Modern/Colonial World System


Colonies • Decolonization • Geopolitics • Knowledge

Postdocs Mentored

  • Julo Pinto (Augsut 1, 2014--July 31, 2015)  
  • Andres Arguello Parra (Fall Semester 2013)  
  • Nelson Maldonado-Torres (Scholarly year 2003-2004)  
  • Bernal Herrera (Fall 2009)  
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Walter D. Mignolo, Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking (1999), Princeton: Princeton University Press
  2. Globalization and the Borders of Latinity, in The Latin American Perspectives on Globalization. Ethics, Politics and Alternative Visions, edited by Mario Saenz (2002), pp. 77-101, New York: Bowman and Littlefield
  3. Globalization, Civilization Processes and the Relocation of Languages and Cultures, in The Cultures of Globalization, edited by F. Jameson and M. Miyoshi (1998), Durham: Duke University Press
Selected Invited Lectures

  1. Hegel's Spirit and the Opium War: Local Histories/Global Designs, March 14, 2012, Advanced Institute for Cross Disciplinary Research, City University of Hong Kong    
  2. "The role of the humanities in the corporate university: a decolonial view from Latin/o America", April 8, 2010, The Global Humanities Lecture Series, York College, Pennsylvania [available here]    
  3. A Decolonial Archeology of Hegel’s Spirit: The Ming Dinasty, Pope Alexander VI and Matteo Ricci, March 28, 2012, Advanced Institute for Crossdisciplinary Studies, City University of Hong Kong    
  4. Critical Theory and Decolonial Thinking: Two Parallel Roads to the Future, April 30 to May 1, 2010, Keynote address, New Directions in Critical Theory, Grad Students Conference, Tucson, Arizona    
  5. The Spirit Croces de Atlantic and Move to the US: Hiroshima, Human Rights, Bandung and the Cold War., April 11, 2012, Advanced Institute for Crossdisciplinary Studies, City University of Hong Kong    
  6. The Spirit Crossed the Pacific and Returned to the East Closing the Cycle of Western Imperial Expansion: Dewesternization and Decoloniality, April 25, 2012, Advanced Institute for Cross Disciplinary Research, City University of Hong Kong    
  7. The Spirit Returns to the East: Rewesternization, Dewesternization, Decoloniality and the Roads to Future, May 22, 2012, Beijing, in 25th Conference of the Academy of Latinity - "Humanity and Difference in the Global Age", held at the Wenjin Hotel in Beijing, from the 21st to the 23th of May 2012, in cooperation with Tsinghua University    
  8. Humanitas, Anthropos and Rights: Second thoughts on "Who speak for the "human" in Human Rights?, November 19, 2011, Birkbeck College, University of London [being-in-human-the-critical-theory-and-law-of-human-rights]    
  9. Cosmopolitan Localism: A de-colonial shifting of the Kantian's legacies, May 31, 2010, Pusan National University, South Korea    
  10. "Americanism, Un-Americanism, and Democracy: A Decolonial Reading of Hegel's Philosophy of History and Tocqueville’s De la démocratie en Amérique”, May 28, 2011, Nuremberg, Third International Summer Academy, 2011. [main.php]    
  11. Epistemic Desobedience and the Decolonial Option: A Manifesto, May 27, 2010, Seoul National University, Institute of Latin American Studies    
  12. Coloniality and Decolonial Thinking: An Introduction, June 3, 2011, Hong Kong    
  13. Second thought on geopolitics of kowledge and understanding, Inaugural Panel, May 10, 2010, Goldsmiths College, London, Workshop on Politics of Knowledge    
  14. De-Schooling and Learning to Unlearn: Ivan Illich's Legacies and the Project Amawtay Wasi, June 22, 2011, The University of Bremen, Germany    
  15. Who speaks for the "Human" in Western Humanism? A decolonial perspective, April 26-28, 2010, XXI Conference de l' Academie de la Latinite, Cordoba, Spain    
  16. Globalization and the geopolitics of knowing: A decolonial view of the Humanities, April 23, 2010, Hilldale Lectures in the Arts and Humanities, the University of Wisconsin at Madison    
  17. Global Linear Thinking, International Law and (De)Coloniality, July 1, 2011, Berlin, Goethe-Saal, Harnack-Haus, Max-Planc Gesellschaft    
  18. “Geopolitics of Knowing/Understanding and American Studies,” Keynote address, April 8-11, 2010, American Studies as Transnational Practice, Texas Tech Comparative Literature Symposium, Lubbock, Texas    
  19. The communal and the decolonial, Keynote Address, April 16, 2010, 20th Annual Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture Conference    
  20. Modernity: The Way We Are, May 19, 2011, The University of Bremen, Germany    
  21. Re-Westernization, De-Westernization and De-Coloniality, June 2 and June 3, 2010, Two lectures delivered at Peking University and Renmi University, Beijing, China    
  22. The Global South and World Disorder, XXXth Distinguished Lecture, Journal of Anthropological Research, March 04, 2010, University of New Mexico    
  23. The State We' re In- Cosmopolitanism, March 7, 2009, Birkbeck College, London [link.]    
  24. Anti-Systemic Movements and Decolonial Projects, December 31, 2009, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico    
  25. Between Cosmopolitanism and Empire: Europe, Human Rights, and Sovereignty, March 6, 2009, London, Birkbeck College [launchworkshopflyer+mignolo+birkbeck+empire+and+cosmopolitanism&hl=en&gl=us&sig=AHIEtbRhE7]    
  26. Epistemic Disobedience and the Decolonial Option, March 5, 2009, Goldsmiths College, London [available here]    
  27. Geopoliticas del conocimiento y formaciones disciplinarias, August 3-August 14, 2009, Quito, Ecuador [Boliv]    
  28. The Advent of Black Thinkers and the Limits of Continental Philosophy, June 29, 2009, Amsterdam, NiNsee [B]    
  29. Transmodernity and Global Decoloniality, March 13/14, 2009, Tate Britain Museum, London [Bourriau.]    

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