The States of the Earth

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

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How climate, empire and secularisation combined to make the modern world

How did disenchantment lead to climate change? The States of the Earth argues that European empires have become secular as they were entering the age of coal and using Orientalism as a way of racializing the Other. While industrial states started colonizing parts of Asia and Africa in the aftermath of the French Revolution, massive conversion of natives to Christianity waned in favor of the civilizing mission. The critique of Heaven has thus overturned the Earth through empire and racial capitalism. Our globalized civilization has not been able to get rid of Heaven but has decided to look for it on Earth by accumulating growth through the devastation of nature. The secular age is therefore a fossil age and the Anthropocene, a Secularocene. Far from defending religion against a disenchanted modernity, this book suggests that phenomena such as evangelism or political Islam should be seen as products of empire and secularization. Religions themselves have adapted to a world in which steam and railways were considered as divine.


  • 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