Historical Futures

This article outlines the agenda of a collective research project that aims to explore modalities of historical futures that constitute our current historical condition. To present the collective work adequately, we have teamed up with History and Theory and initiated a long-term serial publishing experiment. In the coming years, each issue of the journal will feature contributions to this research endeavor. In our project-opening piece, we briefly introduce the experiment and the premises of the collective research agenda. We begin by recounting the many ways in which increasingly towering novel future prospects have begun to capture the scholarly world's attention across disciplinary boundaries. We then introduce the notion of historical futures. Crediting theoretical inspirations and paying intellectual debts to conceptual relatives, we define “historical futures” as the plurality of transitional relations between apprehensions of the past and anticipated futures. At the core of the article, we formulate our call for a collective investigation of modalities of historical futures and sketch three basic sets of concerns that the explorative works in this experiment may address: kinds of transitions from past to futures, kinds of anticipatory practices, and kinds of registers as interpretive tools that position such practices on a variety of spectrums between two poles (for instance, a value register with the poles of catastrophic and redemptive futures). Finally, we close with a brief note about the necessity of collective endeavors.