Is ‘Latin America’ part of ‘the West’? Why ask this question and what do these terms mean for understanding the world today? In this lecture, Professor Walter Mignolo will ask what role the Americas played in forming the colonial matrix of power, introduced by Spain and Portugal in the 16th century. He will also look at the role the name ‘Latin America’ later played the 19th century when the nation states were created. He will discuss recent debates over the continuing legacy of ‘coloniality’ and the importance of ‘decolonial’ thinking for understanding what he and other theorists have called the “modern/colonial world system”.

This lecture was held at the University of Auckland in conjunction with the Hood Fellowship and the New Zealand Centre for Latin American Studies (NZCLAS).

Walter Mignolo is a Professor of Literature at Duke University. He is an expert in global coloniality and the geopolitics of knowledge. He is the author of On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis.


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