Walter Mignolo: Citizenship, Knowledge and the Limits of Humanity



well thank you very much professor engine isn't for this invitation I was indeed invited to Chile before but then when I got this invitation I couldn't refuse so I had to tell the people in Chile to kind of shorten but it's very important because it's a culture and linguistic but with participation of mapuches is in the south of Chile snows in Santiago and of course I noticed you that my Bucci leaders so that to see what is going on in the colonizing citizenship this is really I've had been a very intense discussion today so I will not say much new I will kind of probably repeat some of the things that have been saying I will enter in dialogue also with the panel's well basically my my presentation is organized about the two question after orientalist and how do we can kind of chemical free consent relies citizenship and they kind of who becoming citizen and when etc so I at the beginning that way I have to say also that I see this part of the conversation is in project on accompany as part of not directly but what is going on around the world why we have been talking about alliance dialogue of civilization before Khatami then Alliance of civilizations a potato and Erdogan after the bomb in Madrid why we have been talking so much about cosmopolitanism and is still talking about cosmopolitan is one in the eighties everybody was talking about the nation so I see and in all this kind of conversation the concept of nation the concept of state the concept of democracy I don't trial so that is part of what I think is implied in the question of decolonizing or the orientalizing citizenship so to start with they will say that for me citizenship is not only European but it's 18th century European concept that came is secular came with the nation-state in a very particular way one state one ethno class it's not that was the bourgeoisie but there was a policy which was white and Christian so that is so that concept of citizenship by trying to uncouple citizen from nation so citizen on the one hand for me is a legal issue well a national that is linked to the net to the two to the legal has other kind of configuration what kind of cultural configuration so the nation we know comes from not you so what the secular state did was create a new kind of identification and community of birth and by doing that replace the community of faith that was controlled by theology the church together with the monarchy so that is the general picture scheme in which I will kind of elaborate now so the quest the answers debate the basic incident enable our it on that the basic answer me I want to control my time and what you read I get my so the basic answer to the two questions posed by again in the convocations it the modern secular States European enlightened ocean of citizenship in a mono national state colonized flourish a blue reversal sense of belonging what is important here Weber said citizenship is unique to Western civilization and he said so what citizen I mean if you go around all kind of civilization a culture of civilization let's say before the 18th century you will discover that all civilization have a sense of belonging so I was in ancient China with a thing here thing here means under sky ii means a community of people linked by the heart and means third institutions that keeps the things here more or less ordered in the andes runa that is translated human being badly because runa means a community of living organism like all of us but also runa means a spirituality and they kind of the spiritual life of the world and runa means also the connection with life that today is under the discussion of the Pachamama if we go to the ancien mexico tall turkey that means that means a kind of a sense of genealogy of of a past memory and at Alltech belongs to that concept i mean it's that that community is called for takeda and it was kind of organized around a city Toland so also the greek had the idea of paula tell ya and then the drama translated into kavita's and then from volunteer and kavita's we got citizen and said this is universal well that is what i mean that citizen citizenship colonized the colonizer reversal sense of belonging decolonizing citizenship means to reduce it to size and to uncover and recover different kind of sense of belonging and that is what dialogue of civilization should be second in building the idea of Western civilization both citizen and the state were projected beyond Europe as a universal of human history they have to be globalized the civilizing mission Oscar was talking about was the rhetoric of the European moment development and modernization followed up the u.s. moment things have changed the civilization mission and development as a kind of rhetoric of salvation right so things have changed and what is happening now are several kind of trajectories that I identify as they were sterilizing the orientalizing and the anti colonize it citizenship and of course the modern European idea of the state and this means to build narrative that reviews citizenship the modern state and the modern notion of democracy to size while rebuilding Universal sense of belonging the racial distribution of knowledge and capital today is moving the westernization the oriental is Asian and the coloniality there were a more balanced world that is all I have to say now I will use another 40 or 50 minutes to kind of give you some meat about this kind of place so then we go to the first part after Orion oriental is after side I was in United State once I've published Orientalism and that was mixed up with a lot of things that were happening post-structuralism the Attar published the postmodern condition and nobody noticed that the same year sides published the question of Palestine but the question of Palestine is the side equal equivalent to funnel Orientalism inside the professor of comparative literature at Columbia University neither one under the book but the book entered into a different kind of discussion I was only later like four or five six year later when the post mother was picked up by the people coming from the Colonia and the postcolonial was born because there is no post-colonial before the postmodern right so site began to be entered into the trilogy of the founder of post-colonial ET that in United States in Latin America nobody was paying attention to say it there were some people of course but there were other problems that were the problem of development there were the problem of dictatorship they kind of the LGN the issue there was problem faced by field of theology of liberation there was a question of dependency theory etc etc etc so Orientalism was out of the picture but what concern us was Occidental is not orientalist and now I will read this map and I will tell you that this map shows you that the orient was an invention of Pope Alexander the six in 1529 so this map is showing you the invention of India's occidentalis and India's Orientalism the Pope in a very I mean natural gesture appropriate the planet divided into Hemisphere and give it them to the Portuguese and to the Spanish this is the two pillars of Western civilization there is no Western civilization before 1500 Greece was not looking here ray she was looking to the person I would look in today and Rome what was Constantine up was not in Paris that Constantine Okla was in the earth in the other direction so this map changed the map the imaginary of Western Christian and Western Christian began to be built began to build the idea of Western civilization so look at two or three things that happen here this is the oriented let's say in modern terminology this is oriental user occidentalis and Rome is oxidant right because the Orient and the extreme oxidant are are meaningful in relation to the center that is the west and the west of what one's Anthony Appiah as well very clearly to the west of Jerusalem and the west of Constantinople now Rahm comes the center after the Ottoman after Jerusalem was was lost in the crusade and after the Ottoman took Constantinople so this is the kind of the basic that is the foundation also of modernity coloniality so history began to be re thought the reason mantis eyes of course a lot of people at this time around the world were not paying too much attention and probably ignored it but is on this base that the Dutch and the British and the French pick up and began to build their own kind of empire so that division created idea of the new world and that is they the West the west of the West is the kind of people people say in Latin America the confines of the West so that's the kind of occidentalis and the old world but this is very complicated because the old world is both the West and the Orient so kind of an overlap but you cannot imagine that without the previous map and the previous map is again the foundation of Western civilization but now because the notion of the Orient have not yet of course catch up or was beginning at the beginning of the 19th century the question in the in the new world was not was the Western Hemisphere so in the West Emma sphere is following colors made global linear thinking it's a very interesting moment in relation to the topic of this conference because this is the moment in which the settlers that we were talking in this morning the settler decide to confront the colonizers and so the Western the the earth the Occident of the West become the Western Hemisphere but the Western Hemisphere next together with the Monroe Doctrine means the West the Western Hemisphere is America for the Americans of the north of course because a lot of people at the time and during the 19th century in South America Drago was one in Argentina that he believed that America was for the Americans and he soon learned in a kind of but history that that America for the America was American for the North America and that happened in at the same moment the conditions that the moment in which the condition of the emergence of Orientalism as we know it today will be introduced that happened what happened there is that oriental is the has been picked up by saying presuppose again a displacement of the center the center is not longer Rome the center is Greenwich and this is a moment in which French and British mainly began to take over the world order and that this one orient oriental is mutate the India Sri orientalis big Orientalism and at the same time that the America the the India's occidentalis become the Western Hemisphere and at the same time the south of Europe is produced the south of Europe is produced at the same time than orientalist and there is a significant difference because the south of Europe means that the heart of Europe as Hegel will say devalue the south of Europe and in relation to Charla that that Oscar was was pointing out is very interesting because what Kant says about the Spanish or the Spanish like siesta there are mixed with the Moors they are kind of that that is it they are Catholic that is the south of Europe but what is what happened there is an internal Imperial fight which began already with Elizabeth first with a call today the black legend so you see how this moment began to divide and create the idea of what's I will call Orientalism and so I will close my first part with this map we could go to the second part and then we come back to this map what this map is showing us is something that was totally ignored by all the kind of discussion between the Western Hemisphere and the eastern hemisphere is the new world etc this is a map that Matteo Ricci draw around 1582 the legend says that matter which just read Italian Jesuit went to Japan and then China then one day invited the the intellectual of the Ming Dynasty to the the house of them they are the other Jesuit and show this map no show this map yeah so Norway is show or tedious map and short Ilyas map with that you know I mean America in the left honor so the intellectual of the I mean they they did I don't know what to call it but I mean the the wisdom the men of wisdom of the of the Ming Dynasty said well how that can be if China is in the center why you put it on the upper right corner so apparently the legend says Richie went back to the mission called them two weeks later and show this map so in this map China is the center and it's very troubling because the idea of East and West began to change radically in the sense that the America the new world now is on the east so I wanna I want to come back to this in a few moment bringing China into the with so part two so what do we mean by citizenship as a possible mode of political subjectivity it's any articulation of political subjectivity which enacts a claim to right or the right to claim rights to be understood as citizen can you read that yes okay so I think we have to now go back to what I just said about citizenship as a kind of legal concepts related to the state and democracy in the 18th century so the original European idea of the mono national state and of the homogeneous citizen belonging to the same ethnic class belonging those areas several European states what happened then is that several European states were formed for by the same ethnic class soon jetson in the three-piece believe life hood when he was kind of forming the Republic of China he said he made an observation very interesting I said look how curious you is that the people of the same ethnicity have several state while in China we are all hand you can dispute that but I mean the belief is that the note ninety percent of Chinese are Han so it's natural that all hand people have one state because at that time the idea of the stay began to percolate in China now is in question right so that the problem began to emerge and in in those hundred years from Sun yat-sen to Chiang kai-shek to Mao to then shop in something radically changed and this is what one of the direction I am going next so the idea of the circular mono national state and the idea of men and a citizen will write with a mutation of senses of belonging to communities of faith built by Western Christian theology and a response to the rift within Christianity between Catholic and Protestant what I mean here I want to introduce a new element that we cannot think citizenship in the European sense without thinking the racial concept of humanity men and citizen the right of men and citizen let's forget for the moment that women began to say eh what are the women here in the right of man and citizen let's let's suspend that for a moment but the question is what who was men in the right of men and the citizen so that concept of men came from the Renaissance and in the Renaissance men was humanities was a humanist the humanists who built the idea of the human and the idea of the human was built on the basis of the idea of the difference and the difference at that moment were Muslim and Jews I think that this morning has been mentioned that and a Muslim were the kind of the the enemies from outside and they under it and the Jews the from inside and Indians and blacks so las casas las casas there has four kind of barbarian so the four kind of barbarian were the following the first one was just as what in the 18th century became the primitive the people who lives like nature and the idea there came obviously from the first encounter in the fourth in in the new world before they arrived to the Aztec civilization and the Inca civilization so where people live in naked or semi naked you know when you go to the Caribbean what do you do just this is wonderful it's 80 degrees all year round so you end the workload so the second kind of barbarian are people who they recognize they have a sophisticated social and cultural organization but had the wrong God and that was the Ottoman and that was Suleiman the Magnificent imagine Suleiman the Magnificent which was equal or are the same level that Chava the fifth the third kind of a barrier was those who also have sophisticated or got social organization I have no God and our the astok at the Inca because they were just kind of victim of the develop and the for kind of Bavaria was those who lack literal locution now this the implication of this is enormous for the kind of racial building of the idea of men humanities and citizenship what las casas meant by literal low cushy on people who didn't have alphabetic writing in Latin their Latin alphabetic writing that was literal no question so forget about all kind of other writing system and forget about all those kind of alphabetic writing which were not lat so that is the idea of men that is the idea of citizen and that is a and that is linked with the creation of international law that also Oscar mentioned because international law came to being in the 16th century in relation to the racial division of the world international law needed to justify the Spanish to kind of take possession of the of the land of the Indians because they were like women or like children so that is what I meant here with the question of citizenship cannot be understood without I mean the modern idea of citizenship secular ideals without putting it together with racism and it's because of that that what we have been seen in the 90s in United States the emergence of idea of cultural citizenship and who we're talking about that the Latinos now in Europe second to mean in two thousand of six seven Europe began to talk about cultural citizenship who why because immigration in Latin America what they are talking about intercultural citizenship and who is introduced in intercultural citiship the indigenous intellectuals because intercultural citizenship means that we belong we belong to the state and we want to cooperate in the building of Bolivian and Ecuadorian state of the future and they force in the Constitution of to the to country to this idea I a Bolivian Ecuador are a plural cultural and prudent national state so that is a bump to the concept of the state and democracy and citizenship as we inherited from different from the 18th century so just to summarize the Renaissance idea of man and of humanity both geological and emerging secular human is mutated into the idea of Man and of the citizen and over a secular sense of humanities and beyond the man-eaters were the anthropos and the anthropos still kind of remain they I mean the anthropos in general who are the anthropos are the barbarian are the terrorists are the Communists are the gays are their most sexual that is honorable and cultural intercultural citizenship means that the anthropos began to talk whether the anthropos is a legal citizen or if a anthropos kind of claim legality because it's an alien but they kind of want to kind of have the right that other people have so kans geopolitical so that they in the secular time so can't transform adapted updated las casas for kind of barbarian so Kant came with this geopolitical ethnic racial Tetragon so the mutation of las casas theological error ratio dates are going both working within Western Christian cosmology is the following Kant said briefly yellows are in Asia blacks are in Africa red in America he was not thinking about the British it was thinking about Indians and white in Europe so Christian has been mutated into white into the secular state remaining Christian of course as it was this morning now in both cases las casas and can't if you pay attention you began to understand the under the name of democracy and state and citizenship a machine of privacy reducing and justice is being put in place in the name of salvation and democracy at that is it so that machine the produce and justice is what we call coloniality and you don't see that the logic you you see unjust event but the problem is that we just addressing unjust event the machining continue the question is to understand the logic of past and present and justice which is coloniality and this is what I think we should devote devote devote devote research to but the but the bottom line here is the citizenship state the notion of the state and the notion of democracy are part of that machine and of course Orientalism is appears in that moment in which the concept of men is redefined and the Indians and the African now are kind of complemented by the Orient the Oriental the yellow right I want to say something very quickly here about democracy because I think the problem with the concept of democracy that sounds very good it's like the ethical of the kind of day of the ethic of care the same logic is that the means and the end are confused democracy is a mean to worry just society but when democracy comes also the end there is one only one way to march toward the balance just society right so do you see here how democracy become all of a sudden part of the Machine of the logic of reducing injustice because now you the legitimization of invasion to two places where we are no democracy or putting pressure etcetera etcetera is justified by the thing that democracy has to be around the world as the West conceived democracy so that is there and that is the problem of citizenship because citizenship is legal citizenship is is part of the machine so the transformation of sense of belonging to community of faith to community birth came into being when they were kind of the notion the the concept of the nation state and the nation state I repeat means one nation one ethnicity right one state one nation one ethnicity so this is what become began to be contested perfect this is what began to be contested so so I see to conclude three two I would say two trajectories in which the the the the undermining of of Western concept and and cosmology as a kind of dominant for 200 years so there was an isolation and D coloniality in South America and the Caribbean so I said what did they worth of isolation in in South America I would say that they turned to the left that was celebrated about five or six years ago has changed now Latin America is D westernizing what does it mean that Lula is capitalist but it's against United State getting together with l-dog on supporting Ahmadinejad Chavez never I mean he criticized capitalist but at the same time keep it he kind of improve a lot of things health of the case you know cetera but against the West United States what is Colorado in Ecuador the same the asanga event I mean it is a clear so so that what is going on at the westernization China capitalist but at the same time deal with an icing is also going in South America and it began to go in Africa I mean South Africa is member of the BRICS now China and Brazil are collaborating to lift Africa etc so the mover of the westernization so I would say that the westernization is mainly a kind of the linking from the West but at the level of the state why a.d coloniality is not at the level of the state but i would say i would simplify here that d coloniality have to be located at the level of the politicization of the civil society never we have a civil society so politicize us today the civil society was civil they voted they go to go to church cetera now we have to here we have ending novels we have students in Colombia etc and the political society that is a novelty so the political society the difference between the civil to the polarization of the civil society and the political society the civil society is protesting and making things difficult for the state but the political society have their own project like I give a couple of example here la Via Campesina so variety of foods of national families etc so I think that this example give you an idea of how I I am seen how the the state democracy and citizenship citizenship are being demonized i colonized the oriental eyes because we are marching to a plural versa sense of belonging and that is what I conceived cosmopolitan localized and I a dialogue of civilization more or less in that direction so thank you very much for your patient you

1 thought on “Walter Mignolo: Citizenship, Knowledge and the Limits of Humanity”

  1. Muito interessante essa discussão teórica de evidenciar a lógica do colonialismo para repensar os seus efeitos, ainda mais por ser essa lógica uma das bases de sustentação da narrativa ocidental sobre o mundo e o ser humano…!

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