Walter D. Mignolo: Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking (1999)

30 September 2016, dusan

“This book is an extended argument on the “coloniality” of power by one of the most innovative scholars of Latin American studies. In a shrinking world where sharp dichotomies, such as East/West and developing/developed, blur and shift, Walter Mignolo points to the inadequacy of current practice in the social sciences and area studies. He introduces the crucial notion of “colonial difference” into study of the modern colonial world. He also traces the emergence of new forms of knowledge, which he calls “border thinking.”

Further, he expands the horizons of those debates already under way in postcolonial studies of Asia and Africa by employing the terms and concerns of New World scholarship. His concept of “border gnosis,” or what is known from the perspective of an empire’s borderlands, counters the tendency of occidentalist perspectives to dominate, and thus limit, understanding.

The book is divided into three parts: the first chapter deals with epistemology and postcoloniality; the next three chapters deal with the geopolitics of knowledge; the last three deal with the languages and cultures of scholarship. Here the author reintroduces the analysis of civilization from the perspective of globalization and argues that, rather than one “civilizing” process dominated by the West, the continually emerging subaltern voices break down the dichotomies characteristic of any cultural imperialism. By underscoring the fractures between globalization and mundialización, Mignolo shows the locations of emerging border epistemologies, and of post-occidental reason.”

Publisher Princeton University Press, 1999
Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History series
ISBN 0691001405, 9780691001401
xix+371 pages

Interview with author (L. Elena Delgado and Rolando J. Romero, Discourse, 2000)
Author on pluriversality (2013)
Review: Serge Gruzinski (Annales, 2002, FR).
Commentary: Linda Martín Alcoff (CR, 2007).


PDF (17 MB)

Rens Bod, Jaap Maat, Thijs Weststeijn (eds.): The Making of the Humanities, Vol. 3: The Modern Humanities (2014)

13 December 2014, dusan

“This comprehensive history of the humanities focuses on the modern period (1850-2000). The contributors, including Floris Cohen, Lorraine Daston and Ingrid Rowland, survey the rise of the humanities in interaction with the natural and social sciences, offering new perspectives on the interaction between disciplines in Europe and Asia and new insights generated by digital humanities.”

Publisher Amsterdam University Press, 2014
Creative Commons BY-NC 3.0 License
ISBN 9789089645166
724 pages


Volumes 1-2

Angel Rama: The Lettered City (1984–) [Spanish, English]

16 September 2014, dusan

“Angel Rama’s La ciudad letrada was published in 1984, shortly after he had died in a plane accident in Spain. Since then, it has quickly established itself as one of the most daring, perspicacious and innovative analyses of Latin American history, literature and political culture. However, because it was not completed due to his untimely death, the book was an incomplete synthesis of several decades of literary criticism and history. Even if Rama had not written La ciudad letrada, his place on the canon of Latin American letters would have been secured by his pioneering work on intra-American comparative literary studies. Rama, appropriating a term from Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz, introduced into Latin American literary studies the term ‘transculturation’, which sought to conceptualize the interaction between indigenous, criollo and mestizo cultures in Latin America, and in this way he gave a hermeneutic key for unlocking many key texts of Latin American letters.

Rama’s book is surely about letters, literature and writing, but it is also about cities, space, spatialization and the relationship between the syntax of languages and the order of space. The book is, in fact, what one may call a philosophical-historical-cultural essay that uses literature and the ‘writer’–el letrado–to elaborate a wide-ranging interpretative thesis about Latin America as a cultural unit. Its genre is thus not a literary theory, comparative literature, or even cultural studies, even if it contributes to these. In German one calls this genre Geistesgeschichte, which is neither a spiritual nor an intellectual history, but rather a history of the animating logic of a culture.” (from a review by Eduardo Mendieta, City, 2006)

First published by Ediciones del Norte, Hanover/NH, 1984
With an Introduction by Hugo Achugar
Publisher Arca, Montevideo, 1998
ISBN 9974400244
126 pages

English edition
Translated and with an Introduction by John Charles Chasteen
Publisher Duke University Press, 1996
ISBN 0822317575, 9780822317579
141 pages
via Oral Majority

Commentary (Cora Gorman Malone, 2010, in EN)
Commentary (Brantley Nicholson, 2011, in EN)

Publisher (EN)

La ciudad letrada (Spanish, 1984/1998, 6 MB, no OCR)
The Lettered City (English, pages 40 and 56 missing, 1996, 9 MB, no OCR)