The term "Latin" America supposes that there is an America that is Latin, which can be defined in opposition to one that is not. This geo-political manifesto revisits the idea of Latinity, charting the history of the concept from its emergence in Europe under France's leadership, through its appropriation by the Creole elite of South America and the Spanish Caribbean in the second half of the nineteenth century, up to the present day. Reinstating the indigenous peoples, the enormous population of African descent and the 40 million Latino/as in the US that are rendered invisible by the image of a homogenous Latin America, the author asks what is at stake in the survival of an idea which subdivides the Americas. He explains why an "American Union" similar to the European Union is at this point unthinkable and he insists on the pressing need to leave behind an idea of Latinity which belongs to the Creole/Mestizo mentality of the nineteenth century.
Walter D. Mignolo is William H. Wanamaker Professor and Director of Global Studies and the Humanities at the John Hope Franklin Center for International and Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University. His recent publications include
Local Histories / Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking (2000) and
The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality and Colonization (1995). He is founder and co-editor of the journal, Disposition, and co-founder and co-editor of Nepantla: Views from the South.