Core Faculty

  • Portrait
  • Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Ph.D.
  • Professor
  • LCS
  • Comparative Literature
  • Email
  • Office: A-260 | Lucy Stone Hall, Livingston Campus
  • Phone: 848-445-4228


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

Research Interests

Comparative critical and decolonial theorizing, theories of race and ethnicity, decolonial feminism, phenomenology, and social and political philosophy


Biographical Information

Professor Maldonado-Torres is a 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



Books nelsonbook

  • 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

  • In preparation. Co-editor with Yuderkys Espinosa Miñoso andd María Lugones. Decolonial Feminism in Latin-America: Contributions and Challenges.
  • 2018: Co-edited with Joaze Bernardino Costa, and Ramón Grosfoguel. Decolonialidade e pensamento afrodiaspórico [Decoloniality and Afro-diasporic thought]. Sáo Paulo: Auténtica Editora. 2018. [Portuguese] Contributions from Patricia Hill Collins and Oyeronke Oyewumi, among others.
  • 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).


Selected Articles and Book Chapters

  • 2018. "Decolonising Philosophy." With Rafael Vizcaino, Jasmine Wallace, and Annabel We. For Volume on Decolonising the University, edited by Gurminder Bhambra, Dalia Gebrail, and Kerem Nisancioglu. London: Pluto Press, 2018. 64-90.
  • 2017. "The Decolonial Turn." New Approaches to Latin American Studies: Culture and Power. Edited by Juan Poblete. London:Routledge, 2017. 111-127.
  • 2017. "Religion, Modernity, and Coloniality." Theory/Religion/Critique: Classic and Contemporary Approaches. Ed. Richard King. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017. 547-554.
  • 2017. "Sovereignty." Keywords for Latina/o Studies. Ed. Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, Nancy Mirabal, and Deborah Vargas. New York: New York University Press, 2017. 204-208.
  • 2017. "On Metaphysical Catastrophe, Post-continental Thought, and the Decolonial Turn." Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago. Edited by Tatiana Flores and Michelle Stephens. Los Angeles: Museum of Latin American Art, and Durham: Duke University Press, 2017. 247-259.
  • 2016."Colonialism, Neocolonial, Internal Colonialism, the Postcolonial, Coloniality, and Decoloniality." Critical Terms in Caribbean and Latin American Thought: Historical and Institutional and Trajectories. Eds. Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, Ben Sifuentes-Jauregui, and Marisa Belausteguigoitia. New York: Palgrave Press, 2016. 67-78. Columbia University Press, 2017. 547-554.
  • 2016. "Outline of Ten Theses on Coloniality and Decoloniality." Posted on Oct. 26, 2016. Frantz Fanon Foundation and website of the Caribbean Studies Association. 37 sp pages. ~ 18,600 words.
  • 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.  (
  • 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.
  • 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.  (
  • 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.


Media Appearances

  • 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