A World in the Making

Discovering the Future in the Hispanic World

in Contributions to the History of Concepts
Javier Fernández-Sebastián University of the Basque Country—Bilbao, Spain javier.f.sebastian@telefonica.net

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This article provides an outline of the crystallization of the concept of future in the Iberian worlds in a period extending from the end of the eighteenth century until the second half of the nineteenth century. By tracking and analyzing the vocabularies referring to the three dimensions of time—past, present, and future—in a broad corpus of documentary sources (books, journals, memoirs, pamphlets, parliamentary minutes, and so on), and particularly in the debates and speculation with regard to el porvenir, the article shows that, not only in Spain and Portugal, but in much of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking America, the profound impact of progressive philosophies of history on political and social discourse resulted in a clear politicization of time, parallel to the temporalization of political concepts.

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