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
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
"mundializacion," Mignolo shows the locations of emerging border
epistemologies, and of post-occidental reason.
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