This article explores the question of “excavating the future” and utopia’s potential to expand the modalities within which history has been written and thought. Here, utopia is positioned both as a lens through which to understand the growth of modern historical thinking and as a method for historical analysis. The first part of the article investigates the emergence of the temporal utopia in the modern period and its entanglement with history. The second part of the article begins to trace the contours of utopia as a framework for interrogating history. This framework draws from a branch of utopianism, adapted from the work of Ruth Levitas and Fredric Jameson, via reference to Michel Foucault’s writing on genealogical methods. The article ends by highlighting some examples of historical studies in which the future emerges as an analytical category, to signal a way forward for utopia as a method of historical analysis.

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