On March 9, 2023, Jörn Ahrens gave a lecture at the University of Botswana on “The Failed Promise: A Reflection on the Concept of Modernity and its Contemporary Problems” as part of the Department of Sociology Seminar Series. In his talk he reflected on the problem of a modernity that, today, seems to have failed in many aspects. However, even a contemporary critique and breakaways from modernity, for example from the angle of ecology or decoloniality, still vastly refers to assumptions that are related to basically modern ideas. How do we deal with the contemporary exhaustion of modern utopian energies and a prolongation of the “unfinished project” of modernity? The lecture has traced these contemporary ambivalences and ambiguities of modernity within a social and political situation in which the concept of modernity seems to have failed, but still provides the frames for global meaning making.