2nd PHISO Keynote Speaker: Walter D. Mignolo

PHISO is very honored to have Professor Walter D. Mignolo as one of the keynote speakers for the 3rd international conference on November 09-10, 2019 in Cebu City. To register for the conference, click here. July 31, 2019 is the deadline of registration.


What does it mean to decolonize?
A decolonial take on coloniality and International Relations

In the 30 minutes I have to address the topic of my title related to “the praxes turn in IR” I will address two large issues: a) the fundamental role in the historical foundation of the colonial matrix of power and b) the decolonial take on the Eurocentered distinction/division between theory and praxis. The first issue will be based on the Spanish (Francisco de Vitoria) foundations of IR (when was not yet named as such) and on a re-vision of Carl Schmitt “International law of the Jus Publicum Europaeun. On the second issue will argue, first, that thinking is doing and doing is thinking and, secondly, I will open the question on the disciplinary difficulties (in the social sciences (and IR among them) and the humanities), to overcome the distinction as it is formulated by Western disciplinary formations.


Short bio prepared by Alessandro Petti (Stockholm)

The philosopher and semiotician, Walter D. 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. He is not arguing simply for a geo-politics of location as central to any academic endeavour, but rather a consideration of what that geo-politics enables to be known and how it is to be known. The key issue for Mignolo is not only that epistemology is not ahistorical, but also, and perhaps more importantly, that epistemology ‘has to be geographical in its historicity’ (2000: 67). This has also been described by Mignolo (2000) as ‘border thinking’.

More recently, he has also worked on the idea of ‘decolonial aestheSis’ with others including Pedro Pablo Gòmez (Colombia), Alanna Lockward (Dominican Republic/Germany) and Rolando Vàzquez Mèxico/The Netherlands). This is a collective movement that highlights the practices that have challenged and subverted the hegemony of modernity/coloniality in the realm of the senses and perception.


CRITICAL PHOTOGRAPHYWalter D. Mignolo is William H. Wannamaker Professor of Romance Studies in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Literature and Director of the Center for Global Studies and the Humanities at Duke University. He is associated researcher at Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Quito, since 2002 and an Honorary Research Associate for CISA (Center for Indian Studies in South Africa), Wits University at Johannesburg. He is a Senior Advisor of DOC (Dialogue of Civilizations) Research Institute, based in Berlin and received a Doctor Honoris Causa Degree from the University National of Buenos Aires, Argentina (2016) and a Honoris Causa Degree from the University of London, Goldsmith (2018). Among his books related to the topic are: The Darker Side of the Renaissance. Literacy, Territoriality and Colonization (1995, Chinese (2015) and Spanish (2016) translations); 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 and Korean); and The Idea of Latin America, 2006, translated into Spanish, Korean and Italian. The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options 2011 translated into Korean. With Pedro Pablo Gómez, Estéticas y Opción Decolonial (2012). With Catherine Walsh, On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analysis, Praxis, co-authored with Catherine Walsh, 2018; Decolonial Politics: Colonial Differences and Border Thinking, Duke Press, under contract).


Prof Mignolo’s works are available at http://waltermignolo.com/.

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