maria-lugonesMaria Lugones is a sociologist and feminist philosopher who is part of the modernity / coloniality school of thought. She develops Anibal Quijano’s ‘coloniality of power’ arguments to suggest that modernity / coloniality needs to be understood as simultaneously shaped through specific articulations of race, gender, and sexuality. This is not to provide a raced or gendered (alternative) reading of the paradigm of modernity / coloniality, but rather to re-read modernity/ coloniality from a consciousness of race, gender, and sexuality and to examine the emergence and development of those categories within this context.


Lugones argues that colonisation disrupted the social patterns, gender relations and cosmological understandings of the communities and societies it invaded. In the process, it re-articulated particular European understandings of gender and sex from a bifurcation between male and female to a racialised understanding of the same embedded within a logic of colonial difference. This erased the varied conceptualisations of gender, sex, and sexuality that pre-existed the European modern / colonial gender system.


Lugones regards knowledge as something produced by communities rather than individuals. She argues that given that our ways of living in the world are shared, so our knowledge of the world is shared. As such, there is important work to be done in learning from and about each other. Learning from the other does not imply becoming the other. Instead, Lugones argues for the non-reducibility of the multiplicity that emerges in encounters with colonial difference.


Essential Readings:

Lugones, María 2007. ‘Heterosexualism and the Colonial / Modern Gender System,’ Hypatia 22 (1): 186-209

Lugones, María 2010. ‘Toward a Decolonial Feminism,’ Hypatia 25 (4): 742-59


Further Readings:

Bhambra, Gurminder K. 2014. Postcolonial and Decolonial Reconstructions in Connected Sociologies. Bloomsbury Academic

Garry, A. 2011. Intersectionality, Metaphors, and the Multiplicity of Gender. Hypatia, 26: 826–850

Lugones, María 2003. Peregrinajes/Pilgrimages: Theorizing Coalition Against Multiple Oppressions. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Press, 2003

Patil, V. 2013. From Patriarchy to Intersectionality: A Transnational Feminist Assessment of How Far We’ve Really Come. Signs, 38(4), 847-867.



What is the relationship of Lugones to the modernity / coloniality school of thought?

How does Lugones’s understanding of sex / gender differ from standard feminist accounts?

What does Lugones mean about the non-reducibility of the multiplicity?



Submitted by Gurminder K Bhambra 



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