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This chapter considers philosophies of history—in works from Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of World History and Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte to C. L. R. James’s TheBlack Jacobins and W. E. B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in America—in order to discuss the adequacy of conceptions of history in historical narratives for comprehending not simply the past and present, but the complicated demands of providing for the future. If European philosophies of history resolved the contradiction of freedom and slavery through a dialectical overcoming that enacted a foreclosure of slave societies that were coeval with modern Europe,...

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