Historical teleologies in the modern world

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  • "Historical Teleologies in the Modern World tracks the fragmentation and proliferation of teleological understandings of history--the notion that history had to be explained as a goal-directed process--in Europe and beyond throughout the 19th and into the 20th century. Historical teleologies have profoundly informed a variety of other disciplines, including modern philosophy, natural history, literature, humanitarian and religious philanthropism, the political thought and practice of revolution, emancipation, imperialism, colonialism and anti-colonialism, the conceptualization of universal humankind, and the understanding of modernity in general. By exploring the extension and plurality of historical teleology, the essays in this volume revise the history of historicity in the modern period. Historical Teleologies in the Modern World casts doubt on the idea that a single, if powerful, conception of time could function as the unifying principle of all modern historicity, instead pursuing an investigation of the plurality of modern historicities and its underlying structures. By bringing together Western and non-Western histories, this book provides the first extended treatment of the idea of historical teleology. It will be of great value to students and scholars of modern global and intellectual history"--Publisher's website.


  • Includes bibliographical references and index.


  • I. Two genealogies of historical teleology -- Introduction: Teleology and history : nineteenth-century fortunes of an Enlightenment project / Henning Trüper with Dipesh Chakrabarty and Sanjay Subrahmanyam -- The politics of eschatology : a short reading of the long view / Sanjay Subrahmanyam -- II. Botched vanishing acts : on the difficulties of making teleology disappear -- The "vocation of man"/"Die Bestimmung des Menschen" : a teleological concept of the German Enlightenment and its aftermath in the nineteenth century / Philip Ajouri -- Earth history and the order of society : William Buckland, the French connection, and the conundrum of teleology / Marianne Sommer -- Against Darwin : teleology in German philosophical anthropology / Angus Nicholls -- III. Befriending teleology : writings histories with ends -- Save their souls : historical teleology goes to sea in nineteenth-century Europe / Henning Trüper -- Reading history in colonial India : three nineteenth-century narratives and their teleologies / Siddharth Satpathy -- A gift of providence : destiny as national history in colonial India / Dipesh Chakrabarty -- IV. Teleology in the revolutionary polis -- The "democracy of blood" : the colours of racial fusion in nineteenth-century Spanish America / Francisco A. Ortega -- Between context and telos : reviewing the structures of international law / Martti Koskenniemi -- Marxism and the idea of revolution : the messianic moment in Marx / Etienne Balibar -- V. Translating futures : eschatology, history and the individual -- Religious teleologies, modernity and violence : the case of John Brown / Carola Dietze -- "But was I really primed?" : Gershom Scholem's Zionist project / Gabriel Piterberg -- Catching up with oneself : Islam and the representation of humanity / Faisal Devji -- VI. Historical futures without direction? -- Autonomy in history : teleology in nineteenth-century European social and political thought / Peter Wagner -- The faces of modernity : Crisis, Kairos, Chronos : Koselleck versus Hegel / Bo Stråth
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