This book examines the temporality of modernity by focusing on the relations between Africa, America and Europe. More specifically, it considers the extent to which the supposed arrival of modernity in Europe affects the ways in which human beings situate themselves in time and history worldwide. It also explores how institutionally entrenched interpretations of modernity based on inequality and oppression are transformed into novel forms that are shaped by the drive to inclusive–egalitarian collective self-determination. In linking the history of Europe to world history, the book shows that what is often referred to as ‘the rise of Europe’ was the creation of an Atlantic world region with increasingly dense but highly asymmetric commercial and communicative ties. This introduction discusses the debate over the relation between the history and the theory of modernity, the connection between the Northern Atlantic West and the origins of modernity, and novel interpretations of modernity in Africa and Latin America.
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