Journal Article — Dispensable and Bare Lives: Coloniality and the Hidden Political/Economic Agenda of Modernity — by Walter Mignolo




Walter Mignolo discusses how racial formations in colonialism and imperialism have to be understood in the context of the simultaneous transformation of Christianity and the emergence of the capitalist world economy. In his contribution he focuses on how Christian theology prepared the terrain for two complementary articulations of racism. One was founded on Christian epistemic privilege over the two major competing religions (Jews and Muslims), the other on a secularization of theological detachment culminating in the “purity of blood” that became the biological and natural marker (Indians, Blacks, Mestizos, Mulatos) of what used to be the marker of religious belief (Jews, Moors, Conversos, Moriscos). Mignolo also discusses the emergence of secular “Jewness” in eighteenth century Europe and how these developments were concurrent with Western Imperialism in the New World. He concludes that secular Jewness joined secular Euro-American economic practices (e.g., imperial capitalism) and the construction of the State of Israel by what Marc Ellis describes as “Constantine Jews.”

Recommended Citation

Mignolo, Walter. 2009. “Dispensable and Bare Lives: Coloniality and the Hidden Political/Economic Agenda of Modernity.” Pp. 69-88 in Historicizing Anti-Semitism (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume VII, Issue 2, 2009.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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