History of Latino/a Philosophy Chapter uri icon


  • Latina/o philosophy is a tradition of thought referring both to the work of many Latina/o philosophers in the United States and to a specific set of philosophical problems and method of questioning that relate to Latina/o identity, borders, immigration, gender, race, feminism, and decoloniality. Latina/o philosophy is used by some to refer also to Latin American philosophy practiced within Latin America and the United States (see Gracia 2008, cited under Introductory Works and Edited Volumes), while others argue that to maintain specificity Latina/o philosophy should only refer to a subset of Latin American philosophy. This entry considers both the general contours of Latina/o philosophy as it is situated with the history of Latin American philosophy and the specificity of a mode of philosophy that emerges from the practices and experiences of Latina/os writing and thinking within the United States. The emergence of Latina/o philosophy in the more restricted sense does not follow one simple trajectory, though a major portion of its legacy can be located in relation to the history of Latin American philosophy and its emergence as a field of study within the United States initiated by Hispanic and Latino/a philosophers. Latina/o philosophy is also shaped by major contributions from Latina feminism, and its diverse genealogy with ties to women of color and Third World feminisms in the United States (see for example the foundational work Moraga and Anzalda 1981, cited under Latina Feminisms). While Latina/o philosophy itself has more recently emerged in the United States, the history of Latin American philosophy that frames many of its questions and intersects with many of its key problems of identity and colonization begins in the wake of colonization of the Americas by the Spanish and Portuguese. This is not to say that there was no philosophy in the Americas until the Europeans colonized the region, but what we call Latin American philosophy is the product of colonization; and the colonial condition of Latin American philosophy is a theme that shapes much contemporary work in the area. The history of Latin American philosophy can be broken down into the following periods: the colonial period, Independence period, positivism, and the contemporary period. From the perspective of the history of Latina/o and Latin American philosophy, this article focuses upon contributions to the themes of cultural and philosophical identity, aesthetics, philosophical anthropology, feminism, Marxism, philosophy of liberation, decolonial thought, and subaltern studies. The contemporary period of Latin American philosophy intersects with Latina/o philosophy as the problem of identity migrates from Latin America to the United States. The appearance of the problem in the consciousness of philosophers in the United States changed the field of philosophy itself, shaping a new path within it and opening a new set of issues, as the selections discussed in this article indicate.

author list (cited authors)

  • Millan, E., & Deere, D. T.

complete list of authors

  • Millan, E||Deere, DT

editor list (cited editors)

  • Stavans, I.

Book Title

  • Oxford Bibliographies in Latino Studies

publication date

  • 2017