The difference in “discovery and invention” of the Americas: looking at the national identities from a view of decoloniality

May 3, 2013

short take on The Idea of Latin America by Walter Mignolo (2006)

Inter-American Studies

Walter D. Mignolo in his book The Idea of Latin America presents two – but complementary – ways in which the book can be read and I would suggest the same for this short article. Readers can simply acknowledge that America was not discovered but invented, and from there follow the path that made of “Latin” America an extension of the initial imperial/colonial invention. The second, more detailed description would present the argument of the invention of America itself as an attempt to shift the geography, and the geopolitics of knowledge, of critical theory (as introduced by the Frankfurt School in the 1930s) to a new terrain of decoloniality. The first reading can still be performed within the paradigm of modernity that emphasizes the linear evolution of concepts and, above all, newness. The second reading, however, demands to be performed within the paradigm of (de)coloniality that implies modernity but…

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