Local Histories/Global Designs

“Walter Mignolo, one of America’s most eminent postcolonialists, presents a challenging new paradigm for understanding the realities of a planetary ‘coloniality of power,’ and the limits of area studies in the United States. Local History/Global Designs is one of the most important books in the historical humanities to have emerged since the end of the Cold War University. This is vintage Mignolo: packed with insights, breadth, and intellectual zeal.” Jose David Saldivar, University of California, Berkeley

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.

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