Commentary
History, time and temporality in development discourse
in History, historians and development policy

This chapter focuses on two areas in which history can make a contribution, conceptually and methodologically, to understanding constructions of time and the past in development policy. First, it explores the problematic way in which the discourse writes and conceals its history, and addresses how we can usefully engage an historical perspective to move beyond a bounded history that simply charts a linear chronology of events and sequential theoretical positions. Second, the chapter argues that how we understand, invoke and imagine time and temporality in development, particularly in relation to other people in different places, reproduces and embeds global hierarchies and distinctions. It suggests that a postcolonial historical analysis can offer ways of writing different histories and of moving beyond the problematic framing of time.

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