Beyond Progressive Interpretations of Human History

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* Article: Exiting the Time of Historical Materialism. By Aditya Nigam. From the book: Border-Marxisms and Historical Materialism Chapter / Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA), 2023.



"Our discussion in the previous chapters raises some obvious questions regarding the Time of historical materialism, which is also the Time of modernity. The questions that have emerged from our discussion problematize the linearity of that conception of Time but it should be underlined here that the point is not to juxtapose this linear time to something called “cyclical” time. Rather, it is to recognize that every moment in time is heterogenous and therefore full of any number of possibilities no moment simply follows from the previous one, strictly speaking. The point of this critique is also to recognize that the linear conception of time involves an ideological operation by which, through the neat separation of the “past” from the “present” (and “future”), it consigns certain contemporaneous life-forms to “the past”, thus decreeing them illegitimate. This chapter looks at certain strands of Marxist thought from the global South which actually step outside such a conception."