Walter Mignolo (b. 1941) is an Argentinian scholar and a Professor of Romance Studies in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Literature at Duke University since 2013.
Mignolo completed his BA in Philosophy from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina in 1969. In 1974 he obtained his Ph.D. from the École des Hautes Études, Paris. He subsequently went into teaching at various such as the Universities of Toulouse, Indiana, and Michigan. As a philosopher and semiotician, Walter Mignolo, is one of the founders of the modernity / coloniality school of thought. His early work focused on the history of writing and included discussion of literature, historiography, cartography, and cultural theory. In developing the idea of ‘decoloniality’, Mignolo builds on the work of Anibal Quijano and argues specifically for the necessity of epistemic decolonization. This is required, he argues, to undo the damage wrought by both modernity and by understanding modernity / coloniality only as modernity.
The decolonization of knowledge, Mignolo suggests, occurs in acknowledging the sources and geo-political locations of knowledge while at the same time affirming those modes and practices of knowledge that have been denied by the dominance of particular forms. His concepts have inspired critical ways of thinking at Framer Framed, such as the decolonial curatorial practice of Chandra Frank and Sadiah Boonstra‘s curation of the exhibition On the Nature of Botanical Gardens (2020).
Some of his publications include: The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Colonization and the Discontinuity of the Classical Tradition (1992) from The University of Chicago Press, Writing Without Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica and the Andes, (1994) co-edited with Elizabeth H. Boone, The Americas: Loci of Enunciations and Imaginary Constructions (1994-5), Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking (1999), The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options (Latin America Otherwise). Duke University Press Books (2011), and On Decoloniality: Concept, Analytics, Praxis co-authored with Catherine Walsh. Duke University Press (2018).