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AbstractIn this opening article, the editors of International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity provide an overview of recent debates relating to “modernity”, inviting prospective authors to participate in a reflexive conversation on this contested concept, which is, at the same time, a practical reality. Modernity is on endless trial, suggesting evaluation and permanent criticism. The most disputed aspects of modernity range from its supposedly secular character and its strong connection to western science. Responses to these and other conspicuous features of modernity include Romanticism and various critiques of Enlightenment rationality, but also artistic modernism and the postcolonial attack on Eurocentrism. New approaches to the study of modernity try to accept its ambiguity, rather than reaffirm the conventional binary approach, and pay more attention to global and experiential aspects. A cultural history of modernity can help to expand such new approaches.