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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Centre for International Relations Research (CIRR) Chair Group on History and Theory of International Relations

2018 - Walter Mignolo - Duke, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Lecture 2018

Date: 10/10/2018
Time: 17:00-19:00
Location: Heymanszaal, Academiegebouw

Prof. Walter Mignolo (Duke, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences)
Modes of Reasoning 2018 poster

Exiting the failures of modernity: epistemic reconstitution and aesthetic re-emergence

A couple of years ago two major exhibitions attracted the attention of many beyond the sphere of art, museums and galleries. Juko Hasegawa, distinguished Japanese curator, was responsible for one of them; Bruno Latour, well-known French intellectual, curated the second. Hasegawa’ titled her exhibit: “The New Sensorium: Exiting the Failures of Modernization. Latour titled his “Reset Modernity.” The title of the two exhibitions frames my talk: the tendency in the North Atlantic is not to loose privileges in any of the spheres in which privilege was secured since 1500. Hence “Reset Modernity.” The tendencies outside of Europe are to delink from the failures of modernity and, I would say, its aberration. Hence, “Exiting the Failures of Modernity.”

Decoloniality has emerged as an option that focuses on the darker side of Western modernity and therefore on the negative consequences (or failures) of what the rhetoric of modernity promises. During the Cold War the strives under the banner of decolonization  up in building nation-states in the hands of the indigenous to the land or, in some cases, in the hands of settlers from European descent. By the end of the Cold War it was understood by many that decolonization during the period was at once a victory and a failure. It was victory because nation-states multiplied and it was failure because nation-states were already entrenched in the logic of coloniality (more specifically in the Colonial Matrix of Power).

Peruvian sociologist Anibal Quijano was one among many who understood the double bind of decolonization. He introduced the concept of coloniality of power (that kept nation-stages hostage of coloniality) and re-oriented the goal of decolonization: he described it as “epistemic reconstitution.” Later on, as the work of the modernity/coloniality expanded, Colombian scholar, artist and activist Adolfo-Alban Achinte made the distinction between resistance and re-existence: epistemic reconstitution was linked to re-existence. But as far as re-existence implies delinking from praxis of living modeled by the imaginary of modernity, re-existence is not only epistemic but aesthesic: it means re-existing in by delinking from the failures of modernity and re-model our sensing and emotioning.


Because of the limited capacity we ask you to please register if you wish to attend.

Prof. Walter Mignolo will also give a workshop on 11 October

Last modified:24 January 2024 10.09 a.m.