BOOK LAUNCH: The States of the Earth: An Ecological and Racial History of Secularization (Verso Books, 2024)

states of the earth

With author Mohamed Amer Meziane (Brown University)
Convened by Faisal Devji (St Antony's College)

While industrial states competed to colonize Asia and Africa in the nineteenth century, conversion to Christianity was replaced by a civilizing mission. This new secular impetus strode hand in hand with racial capitalism in the age of empires: a terrestrial paradise was to be achieved through accumulation and the ravaging of nature.

Far from a defence of religion, The States of the Earth argues that phenomena such as evangelism and political Islam are best understood as products of empire and secularization. In a world where material technology was considered divine, religious and secular forces both tried to achieve Heaven on Earth by destroying Earth itself.