chapter  15
66 Pages

DELINKING: THE RHETORIC OF MODERNITY, THE LOGIC OF COLONIALITY AND THE GRAMMAR OF DE-COLONIALITY Walter D. Mignolo

In May 2004, Arturo Escobar and I organized one of the meetings of the modernity/coloniality project at Duke and UNC. Each meeting of the group since 1998 has been devoted to the exploration of issues that emerged as interesting and/or problematic in previous meetings or during conversations, among its members, in between meetings. The guiding statement for the 30 May1 June 2004 meeting was the following:

How does Horkheimer’s ‘critical theory’ project look to us today, when global and pluri-versal ‘revolutions’ are taking place, out of the di-versity and pluri-versity of the many local histories that in the past 500 hundred years (some in the past 250 or perhaps only 50 years) couldn’t avoid the contact, conflict, and complicity with the West (e.g., Western Christianity, its secularization and relation to/with capitalism and its obverse, Socialism/ Marxism)? What should ‘critical theory’ aim to be when the damne´s de la terre are brought into the picture, next to Horkheimer’s proletarians or today’s translation of the proletariat, such as the multitudes? What transformations are needed in the ‘critical theory’ project if gender, race, and nature were to be fully incorporated into its conceptual and political framework? Finally, how

can ‘critical theory’ be subsumed into the project of modernity/coloniality and decolonization? Or would this subsumption perhaps suggest the need to abandon the twentieth century formulations of a critical theory project? Or, would it suggest the exhaustion of the project of modernity?