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Hist01


Past futures: new approaches to the history of development as 'future-making' in Africa 
Convenors:
Jonathan Jackson (University of Cologne)
Mads Petry Yding (University of Oxford)
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Chairs:
Jonathan Jackson (University of Cologne)
Mads Petry Yding (University of Oxford)
Discussants:
Maxmillian Chuhila (University of Dar Es Salaam )
David Anderson (University of Warwick)
Format :
Panel
Streams :
History (x) Futures (y)
Sessions:
Thursday 1 June, -, Thursday 1 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

This panel takes up the idea of 'past futuresʼ to explore how historians might approach a historiography of 'future makingʼ in the context of development histories, and in ways that offer new perspectives on the past, insights into the present, and lessons for the future.

Long Abstract:

Studies of 'futuresʼ often begin from the present. But historian Reinhart Koselleck rightly connected notions of 'a chronological past, a lived present that was once an anticipated future, and expectations of the future - such that any given present is at the same time a "former" future.ʼ This panel takes up this idea of 'formerʼ or 'past futuresʼ to explore how historians might approach a historiography of 'future makingʼ in the context of development histories, and in ways that offer new perspectives on the past, insights into the present, and lessons for the future. Through this lens, development planning in Africa is viewed as a principal form of 'future makingʼ in its design for alternative futures expressed through plans and possibilities, potential and promise. Throughout the 20th century - from the colonial civilising mission to structural adjustment programs - the outside push to 'developʼ African societies resulted in a profusion of visions. However, these were largely futures imposed from above and, as such, development schemes and projects occupy a deeply contested terrain where local practices frequently collided with colonial and post-colonial management regimes, imposed schemes and development initiatives, thus spurring local adaptation, resilience, and conflict. This panel presents new findings and discusses novel historical methodologies as it takes up cases of 'future-makingʼ from Africa, to consider themes such as natural resource extraction and governance, health policies and provisions, notions of secessionism and independent futures, and plans to implement large-scale infrastructures with far-reaching ramifications for local populations, livelihoods, and environments.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -