Decolonial Theories in Comparison

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Breny Mendoza


The article examines the theories of decolonization that have originated in the north of the Americas and Oceania and Latin America. It compares settler colonial theories developed by Australian historians Patrick Wolfe and Lorenzo Veracini with the theory of the coloniality of power of the Peruvian sociologist Aníbal Quijano. The author argues that Wolfe’s and Veracini’s theory of settler colonialism creates a conceptual distancing from what they call exploitation colonialism (which supposedly characterizes Latin America colonialism) that is not only theoretically unsound, but also historically inaccurate. The land/labor binary that they build in their theory of settler colonialism holds up only if it excludes Latin America from the analysis. This becomes evident in their analyses of the state, race, and miscegenation. Both theories, however, largely ignore gender in the description of colonization, a gap that Latin American decolonial theorists and feminist indigenous theorists of the north must fill. The differences between the theories determines also the ways they imagine decolonization.

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How to Cite
Mendoza, B. (2020). Decolonial Theories in Comparison. Journal of World Philosophies, 5(1), 43–60. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Breny Mendoza, California State University

Breny Mendoza is professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the California State University, Northridge. Her latest publications are “Can the Subaltern Save Us?” in Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society, Open Access Journal, Taylor & Francis, 2019; “Colonial Connections” in Feminist Studies 43, no. 3, (2017): 637-45, “Coloniality of Gender and Power: From Postcoloniality to Decoloniality,” In Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory, ed. Lisa Disch and Mary Hawkesworth (Oxford University Press, 2016), and Ensayos de Crítica Feminista de Nuestra América (Editorial Herder Mexico, 2014; in Spanish).