Introduction: Toward a Counter-History of the Present
The preface begins by calling into question the widespread assumption that we are living in a world characterized by increased global unification, unrelenting technological progress, and an unprecedented political consensus regarding the value of democracy. In countering this understanding of the contemporary conjuncture, it goes on to explain that a counter-history is not simply oppositional but seeks to unearth and reconfigure the deep-seated historical logic undergirding this assumption. It thereby sketches the broad outlines of an alternative historical logic according to which “the present” would itself vary across time, space, and social strata. Against this backdrop, it concludes by providing a succinct overview of the book’s chapters and how they intertwine to form an overall argument.