Familiar Futures
Time, Selfhood, and Sovereignty in Iraq
Sara Pursley



Iraqi Futures and the Age of Development

AT 6:30 AM ON JULY 14, 1958, Baghdad radio went silent for a few minutes. A new voice then came over the airwaves.

Noble People of Iraq: Trusting in God and with the assistance of the loyal sons of the people and the national armed forces, we have undertaken to liberate the beloved homeland from the corrupt crew that imperialism installed. . . . Brothers: The army is of you and for you and has carried out what you desired. . . . Citizens: While admiring your fervent patriotic spirit . . . we call upon you to remain calm and maintain order and unity . . . in the interest of the homeland.1

Within a few hours of this proclamation that the Iraqi Hashimite monarchy and its British life-support system had been overthrown, the streets of Baghdad were filled with jubilant supporters. The “Free Officers” of the Iraqi military who had executed the coup and installed themselves at the head of the newly declared Republic of Iraq were not communists, but the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) and its many sympathizers were their most visible base of support. They were joined by members of the three other opposition parties that had come together in 1957 to form the United National Front and whose leaders had been apprised of the impending coup—the liberal National Democratic Party (NDP) and the two Arab nationalist parties, the Ba‘th Party and the Independence Party—as well as by throngs of unaffiliated Baghdadis celebrating the monarchy’s demise.

Many factors enabled a military coup in Baghdad in 1958 to be widely experienced as a popular revolution and then, in some ways, to become one. Among them was the fact that the July revolution was a future that had already been imagined by many Iraqis, or a future past, to borrow Reinhart Koselleck’s phrase.2 By fulfilling certain expectations (abolition of monarchy, an end to British political control, reform of agriculture), it could be experienced as an absolute temporal rupture, the end of one time and the beginning of another. On July 27, Iraq’s new prime minister, ‘Abd al-Karim Qasim, introduced the temporary constitution of the thirteen-day-old republic by proclaiming: “When the revolution came, uprooting tyranny and corruption, a new age began, and it inevitably cut the ties to that painful past.”3 The term al-‘ahd al-ba’id—often translated into English as “the old regime” but more directly translatable as “the bygone era” or “the time gone by”—immediately became a common appellation for the monarchical period, already felt as belonging to the distant past.

On January 1, 1959, the communist popular front women’s organization, the League for the Defense of Women’s Rights, led a march through the streets of Baghdad. The women were protesting not Qasim’s government but rather the monarchical regime of “the time gone by,” agents of which they deemed responsible for an attempted counterrevolutionary coup in December. Their demand was for the “immediate execution of the traitors and plotters. . . . We, the women of Baghdad, will keep the fire burning in our hearts until we see the traitors’ bodies hanging from the gallows.”4 Coverage of the march in the following days conveyed its violent demands, which were consistent with those of the ICP and the other communist-affiliated organizations.

But within a few weeks a new narrative had emerged. In late January, the Illustrated London News published a letter to the editor from the Iraqi Ministry of Development, boasting of the march as evidence of the modernity the July revolution had introduced to Iraq: “the women of Baghdad, some 50,000 including students, doctors, teachers, housewives, etc. took part in the first female demonstration in the country in support of the present government.”5 That this statement was issued by the Ministry of Development in particular points to the new regime’s engagement with a global idiom of development that indexed a nation’s modernity by the status of its women: their presence in public, their social and domestic work (“students, doctors, teachers, housewives, etc.”), and their simultaneously apolitical or at least nonoppositional stance (“in support of the present government”). Within six months, the narrative of the march as a momentous “first,” marking the dramatic entry of Iraqi women into the public sphere, had almost completely eclipsed the memory of its declared purpose and vengeful language. A July 1959 article in the communist press breathlessly recalled: “It was the first demonstration of its kind in the history of the whole Arab people. It was greater than words can express. The streets were silent. . . . Never before had the Iraqi people witnessed such an event.”6

The taming of the women’s march in official memory signaled the regime’s efforts to domesticate the revolutionary movements that had initially ensured the success of the coup but then posed a threat to the new political order. Perhaps more striking is that the communist press participated in a similar rewriting of the event. The ICP had recognized Qasim’s government as the legitimate agent of the bourgeois or capitalist phase of the two-stage revolution leading to socialism, and in the summer of 1959 it retreated from its demand for a share in government. In both official and ICP narratives, the communist women’s public action was transformed into a reassuring harbinger of an already familiar future at which Iraq was now arriving. Simultaneously, the women as private individuals were domesticated through reference to their reproductive, future-oriented work, within both the familial and the social domains, thereby transforming them from “political” to “sociological” agents, as Denise Riley has written of similar discourses elsewhere. “Both this ‘social’ and ‘women’ lean forward, as concepts, into a future which is believed to sustain them. . . . If ‘women’ can be credited with having a tense, then it is a future tense.”7

Familiar Futures

The 1959 Baghdad women’s march and later retellings of it point to several different, overlapping, and often paradoxical registers I have in mind for this book’s title, Familiar Futures. In one register, Iraqi futures were familiar because they were already somebody else’s past or present. Thus, revolutionaries of all stripes celebrated the felicitous occurrence of the coup on Bastille Day, and asserted that diverse initiatives of the post-revolutionary state, from the People’s Court to the land reform law, were repetitions of 18th-century French originals. It was this temporal imaginary that made the women’s march legible as the “first demonstration of its kind in the history of the whole Arab people.” Modernity here appears as transformative, a radical break with the past, even while its trajectory is always already known. This register thus contains its own paradox: it was the very familiarity of the Iraqi revolution as a future past that allowed it to be experienced as the beginning of a new time.

There were significant differences between the political parties that supported the coup, especially in 1958 and 1959 over the question of whether Iraq should unite with Syria and Egypt in the newly created United Arab Republic. The most serious conflict, often erupting as a bloody street war, was between the communists and the Ba‘thists. But the parties also shared certain understandings of what was required of the new regime to legitimate the coup as the long-awaited revolution. Most of all, they called on the state to create a sovereign and stable political space in which capitalist economic development could unfold. In doing so, they stressed the need to combat “lethargy” or “stagnation” in the economy as a whole and/or in the bodies of the country’s laborers. The recurring word used for this condition was jumud, literally “a frozen state.”8 At the same time, many called for the “suspension”—tajmid, from the same root as jumud, literally “freezing”—of various kinds of political mobilization in the present. Thus, key NDP leaders called for the tajmid of all political party activity, including their own, while communists sometimes worked to suspend urban and rural labor unrest in the interest of the ICP’s primary “slogan” during the revolutionary era, “defending the republic.”9 In other words, the overcoming of economic stagnation or jumud was widely seen as depending on the enforcement of political stagnation or tajmid. In the second register of the book’s title, then, Iraq’s futures were familiar because they were to be managed repetitions of its present, at least for certain subjects (such as workers and peasants) and/or in certain domains (such as the political).

This book is about the role of conceptions and practices of sexual difference in stabilizing the tensions between these two orientations of modern historical time toward the future, that is, between modernity as a transformative promise and as a repetition of the same. For example, in the revolutionary era (1958–63), women’s work in the public domain of the social and the private domain of the family often appeared as critical to both parts of the process described above, that is, to the conquering of jumud and the enforcement of tajmid. What Riley describes as the “future tense” of “women” rests on that category’s association with biological reproduction and child-raising on the one hand and with modernizing pedagogical and social reform projects on the other. A third, and analytically central, register of the book’s title thus relates to the recurring prominence of ideas about family life and sexual difference to the future-oriented imaginaries of modernity. In this register, modern futures are familiar both because they are closely linked to familial spaces and attachments and because they are made familiar through techniques operating on subjects’ most intimate habits, capabilities, and desires.

Most of the conflicts around gender and family during these years have been forgotten in histories of the revolution. An exception is a controversy often mentioned in the scholarship, over the promulgation of the Iraqi Law of Personal Status on December 30, 1959. For the first time in Iraq’s history, laws related to marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance were unified in a single code, brought under state control, and applied to all Muslim Iraqi citizens.10 The most controversial provision was one that equalized intestate inheritance rights between male and female heirs. Other clauses restricted polygamy; abolished child and arranged marriages; and modestly increased women’s rights in child custody cases. Scholars have often mentioned opposition to the law as a factor in the short-lived alliance of Shi‘i and Sunni clerics with Arab nationalists that ensured the success of the first Ba‘th coup in 1963 and thus the overthrow of Qasim’s government and the assassination of Qasim himself. Yet few have devoted more than a sentence or two to explicating either the law itself or the struggle around it.

This book originated in an attempt to understand why the controversy over the 1959 personal status law became so pivotal during the revolutionary era, and what if any relation the conflict might have had to the Ba‘thist rise to power. In other words, it was—and on some level still is—an intervention into the debate about what many have understood as the “failure” of the 1958 revolution.11 During the course of my research, I became as interested in the shared discursive frameworks within which the controversy took place as I was in the points of dispute. For example, while the Ba‘thist press published extensive critiques of certain clauses of the law, especially the equalization of inheritance rights, it framed those arguments in the same idioms—of economic development, social reform, and the care of children—in which the communist press framed its arguments supporting the same clauses. Moreover, most Ba‘thist commentators, as well as many Sunni jurists, supported the principle of a unified family law under the control of the Iraqi territorial state. These groups shared a narrative with state officials, communists, and liberals that a nationwide homogenous law was necessary to produce stable conjugal families, and that such families were the foundation of the nation’s sovereignty and development. Hence, contrary to the claims of some scholars that the personal status law itself was repealed after the 1963 coup, in fact the Ba‘thist regime only modified two provisions, the equal-inheritance clause and the clause restricting polygamy. The rest of the law was left intact, contributing to the subsequent split between the new regime and Shi‘i clerics, who had wanted the entire law revoked.

The 1963 coup, which was in many ways driven by an alliance of anticommunist interests, was enabled by the fact that Qasim’s regime had dismantled most of the popular organizations that might have defended it. The communists and other leftists could thus do little to save Qasim, or themselves, during the coup and the anticommunist bloodbath that followed. This has been often recognized in the historiography. But less attention has been paid to the widespread acceptance among Iraq’s political actors during the revolutionary era that economic development and the social reform of Iraqi subjects trumped all other goods that may have been widely agreed upon in principle—including an end to military rule and its replacement with some kind of representative government—or to the ways in which this belief contributed to the demobilization of both the political party organizations and the urban and rural popular strata. As it happened, none of the parties that had come together in the United National Front would achieve its self-declared historical goal in Iraq: a socialist society for the ICP, a liberal democracy for the NDP, Arab union for the Ba‘th and the Independence parties. But each of these parties would end up participating, in the name of its own imagined and perpetually receding future, in the expansion of the Iraqi territorial and militarized state into the intimate lives of Iraqi subjects.

In thinking these first three registers of “familiar futures” together, the chapters that follow refer to the modern political imaginary that Lee Edelman calls “reproductive futurism.” This heteronormative discourse works to defer demands for political change in the present by placing on the “tiny shoulders” of the child the burden of embodying a political future that never arrives.12 I will say more about my use of this concept below. Here I will just note that a reproductive futurist reasoning was familiar in Iraqi political discourse by the 1930s, and it flourished especially after the 1958 revolution. In many ways, its operations in this decolonizing context were less stable and predictable than Edelman sometimes seems to suggest in his own use of the concept. But its powers of moral unassailability were unquestionably strengthened in one particular way, which was through its inevitable imbrication with the emerging concept of the “developing” nation.

As Partha Chatterjee has noted, development was the 20th-century idiom through which all postcolonial states sought to secure their legitimacy.13 Like the child’s future, and not unrelated to it, the nation’s development was a politically unquestionable good in Iraq by the middle of the 20th century, the safeguarding of which could be, and often was, used as a trump card against any inconvenient demand for political change then and there. Edelman suggests that in the 20th-century United States, the figure of the child helped to create a boundary between acceptable partisan politics and enforced, through that very figure, sociopolitical consensus.14 It seems to have been considerably easier for rulers of what came to be called “developing countries” in this period to declare, with straight faces, that partisan politics as such were a “waste of time,” as state officials and even oppositional political party leaders in Iraq frequently did, especially but not exclusively in the revolutionary era.

There is a fourth register of the book’s title, which stands outside of and often against the first three. More difficult to define than the others, instances of this register will flash up throughout the book. A critique of the 1959 personal status law made by the Shi‘i jurist Muhammad Bahr al-‘Ulum will serve to introduce it here. Unlike many Sunni jurists, Shi‘i writers opposed not specific clauses of the new law but the very premise of a unified family code under the control of the secular state. In his critique, Bahr al-‘Ulum suggested that the law only appeared to promote progressive change, while actually replacing the temporally and spatially dynamic Islamic systems of jurisprudence with legal stasis. In contrast to the openendedness and nonterritoriality of Islamic law, the Iraqi personal status law required that “every judge in every generation” within Iraq’s borders pass judgment according to its precepts.15 This critique of the modern state for producing certain forms of temporal and spatial stasis, notwithstanding the claims of progressive time that always accompany such productions, is suggestive of Bahr al-‘Ulum’s grounding in a different kind of temporality, that of the Islamic discursive tradition.16 Here change occurs over time in a way that links the past, present, and future, rather than sundering them through what Koselleck describes as the ever-widening gap in modern historical time between the “horizon of expectation” and the “space of experience.” According to Koselleck, this gap is never greater than during modern revolutionary time, when the revolution “appears to unchain a yearned-for future while the nature of this future robs the present of materiality and actuality.”17 In the fourth register, which runs counter to the gap Koselleck describes, futures might be familiar because they are well known in the Iraqi context (Bahr al-‘Ulum’s conception of a non-static Islamic legal time is just one example) or because they are near or close futures, futures that might be realizable because they remain connected to the space of experience, rather than constantly receding along the horizon of expectation.

Historical Time and Sexual Difference

Scholars have theorized various ways in which the time of modernity, when conceived in all its fullness, is a paradoxically timeless time. The whole concept of the modern is predicated on a radical rupture with the past and on notions of perpetual newness and the linearity of a historical time stretching into infinity. Yet equally central to the production of modernity is its spatialization as a place, at which some (nations, races, classes) have already arrived. This “spatialization of time,” intimately linked to global colonial relations, is what allows modernization and Westernization to work as synonyms in the first place.18 The modern thus acquires a peculiar quality as both endlessly new and frozen, at least somewhere, in time. In the words of Kristin Ross: “[A]ll the possibilities of the future are being lived now, at least for the West: there they are, arranged before us, a changeless world functioning smoothly under the sign of technique.”19

The changeless present of Western modernity relates both to the global historical time of colonialism and to the intimate experiences of modern technologies of political and social order. Koselleck and others have noted how the clock time and calendar time that measure modern homogeneous linear time, and that have come to dominate quotidian life with the rise of capitalism and the nation-state, are predicated on uniform duration and endless repetition. As these forms of time become the basis for modern experiences of governance, they come to mean “precisely not innovation or anything new but rather stability and routine both in the everyday and in the modes of organization of a political society. . . . [T]hrough repetition, precisely that which is new in it turns into the everyday and loses its meaning as new time.”20 I explore two institutions as particularly productive of modern experiences of timelessness: the nation-state and the conjugal family.

If the 1959 Baghdad women’s march was framed as a sign of revolutionary new time, the discourse that envisioned modern women as guaranteeing the nation’s development—and, conversely, non-modern women as blocking it—was not new. Modernizing reformers in Iraq, as in many other colonial and postcolonial contexts, had for several decades been constructing the “backward” indigenous woman, imagined to be sadly “trapped in the past,” as a tragic symbol or even primary cause of her nation’s backwardness. Increasingly seen as the dominant influence on the development of children, women—illiterate, superstitious, tied to biological rhythms of time—became objects of sympathy as well as concern for their role in the cyclical reproduction of the past with each generation, the pattern that seemed to block economic development and a sovereign future. One answer, in Iraq as elsewhere, had been to provide women with modern educations in feminine domesticity that would prepare them for a particular kind of conjugal and maternal life, one that would effect a decisive break with the nation’s past and its diverse, messy, localized traditions and temporalities by reorienting its citizens toward what Benedict Anderson calls “homogeneous” historical time and the “limitless future” of the modern nation-state.21

In his well-known analysis of nationalism, Anderson argues that the modern sense of belonging to a nation depends on the learned capacity to imagine homogeneous historical time. The argument draws on Walter Benjamin’s concept of modern homogeneous, or “empty,” time as what makes possible the post-Enlightenment belief in “the historical progress of mankind.”22 In Anderson’s extension of the concept, it describes the temporality of a modern nation as a discrete, organic, horizontal entity that moves ever forward in a uniform, linear fashion, as represented for instance in the visual timeline of a history textbook or the “meanwhile” of the modern novel. Anderson thus posits the modern nation-state, and not just mankind (as in Benjamin’s analysis of the time of progress), as a central subject of this linear-temporal imaginary.23

I accept the basic premise that that the learned capacity to envision homogeneous linear-historical time is a condition of both the modern concept of progress and the modern sense of belonging to a nation. But this book complicates Anderson’s argument in several ways. First, it considers how the actual movement of a subject—for example, a nation—through so-called homogeneous historical time is often imagined to be propelled by various forms of difference, including sexual difference. Second, it considers the way in which the “limitless future” that Anderson describes as integral to modern nationhood can sometimes work to defer rather than drive demands for change, and how gender shapes these logics of deferral as well.

Because modern feminine domesticity may seem to involve little change to women’s status—they are still often expected to be at home—and because nationalists themselves often posit conjugal family life and domesticity as preserving the nation’s authentic past, it is possible to see such discourses as primarily essentialist and backward-looking, ossifying patriarchal gender relations through the “invention of tradition.”24 But I propose that new dimensions of nationalism and sexual difference become available if we look at the deployment of such discourses as related instead to nationalism’s forward-looking, future-directed sensibilities, its reliance on the political imaginary of reproductive futurism, imaginatively reinforced through new concepts of childhood and of generations to come. Biological reproduction is typically associated with notions of cyclical, rather than linear, time, and femininity itself is often imagined as a way of living in cyclical time.25 But reproductive futurism is constituted by an interplay between cyclical-biological time and linear-historical time that is both modern and nationalist. For female subjects, as agents of reproduction, this interplay heralds new opportunities but also the consolidation of more formidable pressures. Having been finally freed from the past, the nation’s women were henceforth to be trapped in its future.

In the reproductive-futurist imaginary analyzed by Lee Edelman, the “image of the Child” comes to shape “the logic within which the political itself must be thought.” The fantasy of the child’s innocence imposes “an ideological limit on political discourse as such”—who but a monster would stand against this innocence?—while the future the figure of the child embodies, but which no “historical child” is ever allowed to reach, becomes the “perpetual horizon of every acknowledged politics.”26

The Child has come to embody for us the telos of the social order and come to be seen as the one for whom that order is held in perpetual trust. In its coercive universalization, however, the image of the Child, not to be confused with the lived experiences of any historical children, serves to regulate political discourse—to prescribe what will count as political discourse—by compelling such discourse to accede in advance to the reality of a collective future whose figurative status we are never permitted to acknowledge or address.27

The political rationality of reproductive futurism, while seemingly based on the valorization of change in its perpetual yearning toward the future, in effect compels a sort of political freezing of the present in the name of a child who never grows up and a future that never arrives. The figure of the child, writes Edelman, thus enacts “a logic of repetition that fixes identity through identification with the future of the social order.”28

The framework of reproductive futurism resonates with concepts such as “patriotic motherhood” and “feminine domesticity” that have been used in many gender histories of the Middle East and that will also appear frequently in this book. But thinking about reproductive futurism as a hegemonic political imaginary of modernity helps to open up several aspects of these discourses that have not received much attention. One is the kind of disciplinary or depoliticizing work they can do, not only in the sense of “keeping women in the home” and out of politics—though often also that—but in the sense of centering a certain affective register of politics on an imaginary child as the embodiment of the nation’s (equally imaginary) future. Another is the imagined timelessness of the modern domestic sphere, which is different from how the “traditional woman” or the “traditional family” is imagined to be rooted in the past. It is a qualitatively new kind of timelessness: hygienic, orderly, rational, safe, and reproductive of capitalism’s limitless (that is to say, timeless) future.29


1. Majid Shubbar, ed., Khutab al-Za‘im ‘Abd al-Karim Qasim 1958–1959 (London: Alwarrak, 2007), 25–26. Translation adapted from Hanna Batatu, The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978), 802.

2. Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, trans. Keith Tribe (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).

3. “Nass al-Dustur al-Mu’aqqat li-l-Jumhuriyya al-‘Iraqiyya,” Ittihad al-Sha‘b, July 18, 1959, 4.

4. “Women’s Procession,” Iraq Times, January 4, 1959, 3.

5. Sayid J. S. Hannoush, Iraqi Ministry of Development, letter to the editor of the Illustrated London News, republished in the Iraq Times, January 25, 1959.

6. “Iraqi Women on the March,” Iraqi Review 1, no. 9 (July 30, 1959): 19. The Iraqi Review was the weekly English-language supplement to the ICP daily Ittihad al-Sha‘b.

7. Denise Riley, “Am I That Name?”: Feminism and the Category of “Women” in History (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), 47.

8. For example, see “Dawr Jumhuriyyatina fi Siyanat al-Silm al-‘Alami,” Ittihad al-Sha‘b, July 18, 1959, 2; and Husayn Jamil, “Masdar Quwwat al-Hizb al-Watani al-Dimuqrati,” al-Ahali, April 29, 1960, 1. On discourses of jumud in 20th-century Egypt, see Omnia El Shakry, The Great Social Laboratory: Subjects of Knowledge in Colonial and Postcolonial Egypt (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007), 8.

9. See Muhammad Hadid, Mudhakkirati: al-Sira‘ min Ajli al-Dimuqratiyya fi al-‘Iraq (Beirut: Dar al-Saqi, 2006), 445–50; and Yeheskel Kojaman, Thawrat 14 Tammuz 1958 fi al-‘Iraq wa-Siyasat al-Hizb al-Shuyu‘i (London: Biddles, 1985), 102–14.

10. The law, while widely trumpeted as a victory of the secular nation-state over religious sectarianism, did not apply to Iraq’s Christian and Jewish minorities. See Chapter 7 for my interpretation of this apparent anomaly.

11. For a discussion of the failure theme in scholarship on the revolution, see Eric Davis, Memories of State: Politics, History, and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 111ff.

12. Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004), 41.

13. Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 203. In the Iraq context, see Samira Haj, The Making of Iraq, 1900–1963: Capital, Power, and Ideology (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997), 84–85.

14. Edelman, No Future, 2.

15. Muhammad Bahr al-‘Ulum, Adwa’ ‘ala Qanun al-Ahwal al-Shakhsiyya al-‘Iraqi (Najaf: Matba‘at al-Nu‘man, 1963), 27.

16. On the temporality of the Islamic discursive tradition, see Samira Haj, Reconfiguring Islamic Tradition: Reform, Rationality, and Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008); and Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 222–24.

17. Koselleck, Futures Past, 23.

18. On the colonial spatialization of time as constitutive of modernity, see Timothy Mitchell, “The Stage of Modernity,” in Questions of Modernity, ed. Timothy Mitchell, 1–34 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2000); and On Barak, On Time: Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013), 243.

19. Kristin Ross, Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995), 10, emphasis added.

20. Reinhart Koselleck, The Practice of Conceptual History: Timing History, Spacing Concepts, trans. Todd Samuel Presner (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), 150. I am referring to the Andersonian notion of calendar time as a means of ordering quotidian life in the modern nation-state, not in the Benjaminian sense of calendars as “monuments of historical consciousness.” For a discussion of the difference, see Kathleen Davis, Periodization and Sovereignty: How Ideas of Feudalism and Secularization Govern the Politics of Time (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 101. On the uniformity of modern clock and calendar time see also Vanessa Ogle, The Global Transformation of Time 1870–1950 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), 7–17.

21. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso Books, 1983), 12.

22. Walter Benjamin, Illuminations: Essays and Reflections, trans. Hannah Arendt (New York: Schocken Books, 1968), 261.

23. As Kathleen Davis points out, however, Anderson does not offer a “radically alternative method of thinking events in time,” as does Benjamin. See Davis, Periodization and Sovereignty, 101.

24. Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983).

25. See Julia Kristeva, “Women’s Time,” trans. Alice Jardine and Harry Blake, Signs 7, no. 1 (1981): 13–35.

26. Edelman, No Future, 2–3.

27. Edelman, 11.

28. Edelman, 25.

29. “It is as though the ‘not yet’ is what keeps capital going.” Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 65.