The States of the Earth

The States of the Earth:An Ecological and Racial History of Secularization

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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.


  • Young philosopher and historian Mohamed Amer Meziane, in his recently published book, argues that Europe, and France specifically, give themselves credit for having modernized during the 19th century. But this was the period of France's imperial adventures in the Muslim world, which - not coincidentally, he powerfully argues — racialized the concept of "religiosity," rendering it "uncivilized."

    New York Times
  • The young philosopher Mohamed Amer Meziane has recently proposed a stimulating and iconoclastic argument in his book The States of the Earth (Des empires sous la terre). According to this professor at Columbia University in New York, the West is underpinned by an imperialism initially expressed by Christianity, in particular with the papal revolution. Modern secularization does not constitute the death of Christianity, but operates a transfer of this religious sovereignty into an earthly mission, with the colonial enterprise and the massive exploitation of the Earth. "The critique of heaven has overturned the Earth," summarizes Meziane - who calls "Secularocene" the concrete implementation of an imperialism consisting in realizing Christianity on Earth.

    Le Monde
  • By weaving unprecedented links between secularization, colonization and ecological catastrophe, Mohamed Amer Meziane lays the foundations of a work that is likely to open up radically new, and perhaps even revolutionary, horizons of thought