Nelson Maldonado-TorresAssociate Professor
LCS and Comparative Literature
Ph.D. 2002, Brown University, Religious Studies, with a Certificate for Outstanding Work in Africana Studies, distinction
Phi Beta Kappa
B.A. 1994, University of Puerto Rico, Philosophy summa cum laude, Sociology & Latin American Studies
Office Room:A-260 | Lucy Stone Hall, Livingston Campus
Office Phone: 848-445-4228
Comparative critical and decolonial theorizing, theories of race and ethnicity, decolonial feminism, phenomenology, and social and political philosophy
Professor Maldonado-Torres is an Associate Professor at the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies and the Comparative Literature Program. His first book, Against War: Views from the Underside of Modernity, examined the bases of modernity/coloniality in terms of a paradigm of war through the work of Enrique Dussel, Frantz Fanon, and Enmanuel Levinas. In 2011, the Universidad de la Tierra in Chiapas, México, collected some of his essays on decolonial theory in a book entitled La descolonización y el giro de(s)colonial. He is also co-editor of Latin@s in the World-System: Decolonization Struggles in the 21st Century U.S. Empire, and guest editor of two special issues entitled “Thinking through the Decolonial Turn: Post-continental Interventions in Theory, Philosophy, and Critique” in the journal Transmodernity. He is currently working on two book-length projects. One is entitled "Fanonian Meditations," which aims to spell out the epistemological basis of "ethnic studies" and related areas, as well as examine the relevance of decolonization at the epistemological, ethical, and political levels which continues the reflection on decolonial ethics and epistemology of his previous book. The other is “Theorizing the Decolonial Turn,” which provides a historical and theoretical overview of the "decolonial turn." Professor Maldonado-Torres is particularly interested in the crossings of different genealogies of thinking, and their appearance in different genres of writing, discourses, artistic expressions, and social movements. Dr. Maldonado-Torres has been Co-Chair of the Religion in Latin America and the Caribbean Group at the American Academy of Religion, and has served in the board of the Hispanics Group at the American Philosophical Association. He presided the Caribbean Philosophical Association from 2008 to 2013, and is one of the organizers and signatories of the initiative to create a Latina/o Academy of Arts and Sciences in the United States. He was Director of the Center for Latino Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley (2009-2010), and Chair of the Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University (2012-2015). Currently, he is member of the Executive Board of the Frantz Fanon Foundation in France, Honorary Member of the Fausto Reinaga Foundation in Bolivia and serves as book series co-editor of Critical Caribbean Studies (Rutgers University Press) and Global Critical Caribbean Thought (Rowman & Littlefield in association with the Caribbean Philosophical Association).
Courses Regularly Taught
- Introduction to Caribbean Studies
- Caribbean Political Thought
- Introduction to Literary Theory
- Caribbean Theorizing: Coloniality
- Philosophy, and Literature
- 2008. Against War: Views from the Underside of Modernity. Duke University Press.
- 2012. La descolonización y el giro de(s)colonial. Universidad de la Tierra, Chiapas, México.
- n.d.Fanonian Meditations (In preparation)
Edited Books and Special Issues
- 2011-2012: Guest editor. Special Issues: “Thinking through the Decolonial Turn: Post-continental Interventions in Theory, Philosophy, and Critique.” Transmodernity: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World. Vol. 1, Issue 2; Vol. 1, Issue 3.
- 2010: Co-editor with Ramón Grosfoguel. Special Issue on Robert Allen’s Black Awakening in Capitalist America. The Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research. 40.2 (Summer 2010).
- 2008. Co-editor with Paget Henry. Special Issue on Lewis R. Gordon. C.L.R. James Journal. 14.1
- Coordinator. Special Issue in Post-continental Philosophy. Web journal: Worlds and Knowledges Otherwise. Spring 2006.
- 2005 Edited book: co-editor with Ramón Grosfoguel and José David Saldívar. Latin@s in the World-System: Decolonization Struggles in the 21st Century U.S. Empire. Boulder, Co.: Paradigm Press.
- 2005. Guest Editor. Special Issue in Caribbean Philosophy. Caribbean Studies. Vol 33, no. 2 (July-December 2005).
- 2009. “Rousseau and Fanon on Inequality and the Human Sciences.” C.L.R. James Journal 15, no. 1 : 113-34.
- 2008. “Lewis Gordon: Philosopher of the Human.” C.L.R. James Journal 14, no. 1: 103-37.
- 2007 “On the Coloniality of Being: Contributions to the Development of a Concept.” Cultural Studies. 21.2-3 (2007): 240-270.
- 2008 “La descolonización y el giro descolonial” [Decolonization and the decolonial turn] Comentario internacional: revista del Centro Andino de Estudios Internacionales [Ecuador]. 7 (2006-2007): 65-78. Republished in Tabula Rasa (Bogotá, Colombia) 9 (2008): 61-72.
- 2006. “Post-continental Philosophy: Its Definition, Contours, and Fundamental Sources.” Worlds and Knowledges Otherwise. Vol. 1, 3: 29 pp. (http://www.jhfc.duke.edu/wko/dossiers/1.3/1.3contentarchive.php).
- 2006. “Pensamento crítico desde a subalteridade: os Estudos Etnicos como ciências descoloniais ou para a transformação das humanidades e das ciências sociais no século XXI.” [Critical thought from the position of sub-alterity: ethnic studies as de-colonial sciences or toward the transformation of the humanities and the social sciences in the twenty-first century]. Afro-Asia, no. 34: 105-29.
- Also published in Spanish as “Pensamiento crítico de la subalteridad: los estudios étnicos como ciencias descoloniales o hacia la transformación de las humanidades y las ciencias sociales en el siglo veintiuno.” Revista Interamericana de Educación de Adultos 28.1: 143-65.
- Also available on-line: http://tariacuri.crefal.edu.mx/crefal/rieda/ene_jun_2006/contrapunto/contrapunto_art1_p1.htm
- 2006. "Césaire's Gift and the Decolonial Turn." Radical Philosophy Review 9, no. 2: 111-37.
- 2006. “The Time of History, the Times of the Gods, and the Damnés de la terre.” Worlds and Knowledges Otherwise 1, no. 2: 12 pp. (http://www.jhfc.duke.edu/wko/dossiers/1.2/finalTorres%20final%20response.pdf)
- 2005. "Frantz Fanon and C.L.R. James on Intellectualism and Enlightened Rationality." Caribbean Studies 33, no. 2: 149-94.
- 2005 “Decolonization and the New Identitarian Logics after September 11: Eurocentrism and Americanism against the Barbarian Threats.” Radical Philosophy Review Vol 8. No. 1 (Winter): 35-67.
- In this interview in Spanish, Nelson Maldonado-Torres presents his thoughts on: 1) the timeliness and relevance of the thought of Frantz Fanon to construct decolonial theories ; 2) emergences of this critical perspectives to reinvent other ways of thinking and knowledge to take the distance from the hegemonic gaze that characterizes Eurocentrism. The author explains how the foundations of the coloniality of power constitute the ontological roots of the human being, social problems such as racism or inability of modernity to overcome its axioms. Thus, throughout his explanations, the author presents a counterpoint on the need to forge a decolonial attitude that allows us to build these new ways of being, human relations and foundations for science