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Walter D. Mignolo

William Hane Wannamaker Distinguished Professor of Romance Studies
Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708-0413
125B Friedl Building, Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708
Office hours Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment (between 1pm and 3 pm)  


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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, the 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) there is no world-system before 1500 and the integration of America in the Western Christian (European) imaginary; b) the world-system generated the idea of “newness” (the New World) and of modernity and c) 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. Among his books related to these topics are: The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality, and Colonization (1995), which was translated into Chinese and Spanish in 2015 will receive a Turkish translation shortly; Delinking: The Rhetoric of Modernity, the Logic of Coloniality, and the Grammar of Decoloniality (2007), translated into German, French, Swedish, Rumanian, and Spanish; Local Histories/Global Designs:Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking (2000), translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Korean; and Turkish in progress); and The Idea of Latin America (2006), translated into Spanish, Korean and Italian. On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analysis, Praxis, co-authored with Catherine Walsh, was published in 2018 (with an Italian translation in progress) andin 2021 he published The Politics of Decolonial Investigations.

The political dimension of his work, in the past fifteen years has been increasingly devoted to the public sphere where he has worked with artists, curators, and journalists, to write op-eds, give finterviews (in English and Spanish), and to co-organize and co-teach summer schools in Middelburg, Bremen, UNC, and Duke. He also delivers 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) of Wits University at Johannesburg. Recently, he joined the Dialogue of Civilizations (DOC) Program Council as a senior adviser. Additionally, he received a Doctor Honoris Causa Degree (2016) from the National University of Buenos Aires in Argentina ( and an Honorary Degree (2018)from the University of London-Goldsmith (

Current Appointments & Affiliations

William Hane Wannamaker Distinguished Professor of Romance Studies · 1998 - Present Literature, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Professor Emeritus of Literature and Romance Studies · 2023 - Present Literature, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Professor of Cultural Anthropology · 1995 - Present Cultural Anthropology, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Professor of Romance Studies · 2000 - Present Romance Studies, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Education, Training & Certifications

École Pratique des Hautes Études (France) · 1974 Ph.D.