Decoloniality, coloniality and mobility: A conversation with Walter Mignolo

Now available to watch here:

Leverhulme Trust Doctoral scholars Benedetta Zocchi and Manuela da Rosa Jorge speak with Professor Walter Mignolo about decolonial thinking, coloniality and mobility. The conversation starts with Mignolo’s own encounter with decoloniality and moves on to connect the potential of decolonial thinking to address questions of human mobility, concerning both historical foundations and the ways in which they play out in the contemporary world. Mignolo reflects on a number of concepts that participate in the challenge of being and acting decolonially, including border-thinking, re-existence, de-linking and un-learning. Walter Mignolo insightfully takes us on a fascinating journey that mixes his personal experiences as a migrant, his intellectual growth as a critical thinker and his search and research within the decolonial option.  

Walter Mignolo is William H. Wannamaker Distinguished Professor of Romance Studies at Duke University (USA) and one of the founding scholars of the modernity/coloniality/decoloniality collective. His political and intellectual contribution expands across and beyond disciplines, and he is an advocate of decoloniality, a movement for delinking from Eurocentric and Westernised ways of knowing, being and doing. Throughout his career, he has received many awards and accolades including the Katherine Singer Kovaks prize for The darker side of the renaissance in 1996 and the Frantz Fanon Prize by the Caribbean Philosophical Association for The Idea of Latin America in 2006. Recently, Professor Mignolo co-authored On Decoloniality with Professor Katherine Walsh. This is the first of a book series that give voice to decolonial practices across the globe. This year Professor Mignolo is publishing The Politics of Decolonial Investigations.

Mobile People: Mobility as a way of life is a Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship programme at Queen Mary University of London, Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences and School of Politics and International Relations.

New Publication: EU democracy projection in the Southern Mediterranean a practice analysis

By Anna Khakee and Sarah Wolff


This special issue expands on the existing literature on the international dimension of democratization by focusing on democracy projection, defined as the projection of (democratic) norms in the every-day practice of interactions, beyond any donor-recipient relationship, between states and foreign civil society actors on issue areas where both have interests to defend. The SI examines the issue areas of trade, anti-corruption, applied research, gender and LGBTI, focusing on EU practices in its everyday dealings with civil society in the Southern Mediterranean. The authors conclude, based on comparative case studies relying on extensive interviews, direct observations and content analysis, that democracy projection varies according to four main factors: EU’s perceived interest, its ideational commitment to norms of dialogue and inclusion, the degree of institutional inertia and discourses/structures of meanings dominating in some policy areas which preclude EU engagement on substance.

To read the article, please see

New Publication: Urban Geopolitics and the Decentring of Migration Diplomacy in EU-Moroccan Affairs

By William Kutz and Sarah Wolff


In 2018, the International Organization for Migration stated that ‘migration has nearly become synonymous with urbanization, given the dominance of the city as the destination of most migrants’. The geopolitical dimension of migration governance is especially important in Mediterranean cities where the European Union’s (EU) efforts to push border management onto external actors has occurred alongside the transfer of new powers, competencies, and responsibilities for local authorities. Morocco is one such country where a number of administrative and territorial reforms have sought to transform the territoriality of migration governance, and by extension the structure of Euro-Mediterranean affairs. Our objective is to examine more fully how distinctly local aspects of Moroccan migration diplomacy have been harnessed as a force for geopolitical action today. The approach serves to decentre analysis of EU migration policy by rescaling the focus of migration to the urban peripheries of Europe, and to thereby contest Eurocentric accounts of migration governance in the region. Based on an analysis of Moroccan cities’ involvement in migration governance, including the MC2CM Project – a Mediterranean network of cities supported by EU and international actors – we argue that the rescaling of migration diplomacy aims to ‘change the narrative’ about Morocco’s capacity to manage immigration in light of international condemnation of state violence towards sub-Saharan migrants. In particular, devolution is skilfully used to cast Morocco as an advocate for the empowerment of local authorities managing migration, and migrants themselves as an opportunity for socio-economic development. At the same time, however, we observed that the rescaling of migration governance does not so much change the prevailing autocratic securitization of demographic mobility, but rather restructures its coordination through new governing actors (cities) and management techniques (migration).

To read the article, please see

Workshop: Empire’s Endgame: Racism and the British State

Wed, April 7, 2021
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM CEST

An online event hosted by the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen Mary University London

Register for free:

About this Event

As part of the QMUL Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences series on ‘aftermaths’, this event will bring together five of the contributors to Empire’s Endgame, a bold new intervention in debates around racial capitalism and political crisis in Britain. Moving us away from a focus on individual behaviours in explaining racism, Empire’s Endgame traces the ways in which the legacies of empire—reshaped by global capitalism, the digital environment and the instability of the nation-state—produce race and racism in contemporary Britain.


Gargi Bhattacharyya is Professor of Sociology at the University of East London
Nadine El-Enany is a Reader in Law at Birkbeck School of Law and Co- Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Law
Adam Elliott-Cooper is a Research Associate at the University of Greenwich
Dalia Gebrial is a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics, working on race and gender in the platform economy
Kojo Koram is is a Lecturer in Law at Birkbeck School of Law, University of London


Musab Younis is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London

New Research: Project Demed

Ksenia Northmore-Ball is working on a team with Anja Neundorf, Katerina Tertytchnaya, and Eugenia Nazrullaeva to develop a theoretical framework to capture citizen support for political regimes. Secondly , in collaboration with the Varieties of Democracies Project, we are creating comparative measures of the two key components of authoritarian indoctrination, education and political communication, which we expect to be at the heart of impacting the formation of citizens’ democratic and authoritarian values. DEMED will create the first-ever global dataset that contains information on autocratic and democratic indoctrination, covering 180 countries from 1900 to today. This comprehensive new dataset will allow us to study the long-term bottom-up causes of democratisation and democratic backsliding. We are currently preparing a new questionnaire for Varieties of Democracies Project that measures indoctrination capacity, character of political education, and models of citizenship.

For more details on Work Package 1 of this project:

New Publication: Framing immobility: Schengen governance in times of pandemics

By Sarah Wolff


The uncoordinated closing down of internal borders, lock-downs and quarantines have limited the freedom of movement in Europe as never before. How have EU institutions framed this unprecedented immobility and what lessons can be drawn for Schengen as a highly politicized instrument of governance? Adopting a social constructivist approach, we study how between March and July 2020, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council/European Council have framed the debate around immobility in Europe. This article shows that the emergence of the public health frame has mostly been linked by EU Member States to traditional notions of internal security, demonstrating continuity with prior crises. Appeals to a functional-solidarity frame involving more coordination and non-discrimination were made by the European Commission, mainstream Members of European Parliament (MEPs) as well as some countries such as France and Germany. Justified by the public health emergency and compensated by innovative solutions such as the ‘green lanes’ – proving the adaptability of the EU -, the reintroduction of internal border controls has nonetheless been normalised, raising questions about the future of transnational solidarity.

To access the article, please see:

Op-Ed: Russia is a broker, not a peacemaker between Israel and Syria

By Chris Phillips, 2 March 2021

A series of Russian-mediated deals between Syria and Israel have recently caught the attention of analysts.

In December, Israeli and Syrian security chiefs reportedly met at Russia’s Syrian Khmeimim airbase, while Russian forces this month excavated a Palestinian cemetery in Damascus with the aim of recovering and repatriating the remains of several Israelis.

What is the role of Russia in these proceedings?

To read more, please see

New Publication: Did Theresa May Kill the War Powers Convention? Comparing Parliamentary Debates on UK Intervention in Syria in 2013 and 2018

By James Strong

Abstract: This article asks whether Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to bypass the House of Commons and order military action in Syria in 2018 killed the UK’s nascent War Powers Convention, established most visibly when MPs vetoed an essentially similar operation under Prime Minister David Cameron in 2013. It finds that the War Powers Convention survives, but in a weakened state, subject to new caveats that significantly narrow its scope. What happens next depends on the dynamic, unpredictable interaction between what future prime ministers believe, what strategic questions arise and what MPs will accept.

The article can be read at

James Strong has also blogged about the article here:–dr-james-strong.html and here:

New Book: The Political Economy of Southeast Asia: Politics and Uneven Development under Hyperglobalisation

Edited by  Toby Carroll, Shahar Hameiri, and Lee Jones


This all-new fourth edition of The Political Economy of Southeast Asia constitutes a state-of-the-art, comprehensive analysis of the political, economic, social and ecological development of one of the world’s most dynamic regions. With contributions from world-leading experts, the volume is unified by a single theoretical approach: the Murdoch School of political economy, which foregrounds struggles over power and resources and the evolving global context of hyperglobalisation. Themes considered include gender, populism, the transformation of the state, regional governance, aid and the environment. The volume will be of interest to scholars and students across multiple disciplines, including political economy, development studies, international relations and area studies. The findings of contributors will also be of value to civil society, policymakers and anyone interested in Southeast Asia and its development.

The book can be found at:

New Publication: Gender equality in Tunisia: The EU’s tripartite dialogue

By Sarah Wolff


To what extent is the EU projecting democratic norms in the area of gender? Gender equality and women’s empowerment have been at the heart of the EU’s external action since the Arab uprisings. This article is an in-depth study of how the EU interacts with non-state actors in practice, and beyond the recipient-donor relationship, in the format of tripartite dialogue whereby the EU, civil society and the Tunisian government consult each other before any major EU meeting. First, this article reviews what EU democracy projection involves in the field of gender equality. Then it offers a mapping of the local, active participants on feminism and gender equality. Third, the article focuses on an innovative practice of trust-building, that of the gender sub-group of the tripartite dialogue. The main argument is that the dialogue has provided a new venue to project trust-building practices that are central to the consolidation of democracy. Yet this practice is weakened by the lack of considerations of major divides around gender in Tunisian society. Interaction on democratic norms thus remains secluded to a very selective venue. Democracy projection is, however, not fully ‘transversal’ as the Islamist-secularist cleavage, socioeconomic inequalities and divides of the rural peripheries constrain the impact of the tripartite dialogue and subsequent democracy projection.

To read the article, please see: