The end of religious empires and the rise of the modern state

Coping with Defeat: Sunni Islam, Roman Catholicism, and the Modern State (Princeton University Press, 2021), a new book by Boston College Professor of Political Science Jonathan Laurence, explores the surprising similarities in the rise and fall of the Islamic and Catholic political-religious empires in the face of the modern state. Drawing on interviews, site visits, and archival research in Turkey, North Africa, and Western Europe, Laurence demonstrates how, over hundreds of years, both Sunni and Catholic authorities experienced three major upheavals and displacements―religious reformation, the rise of the nation-state, and mass migration. Catholic institutions eventually accepted the state’s political jurisdiction and embraced transnational spiritual leadership as their central mission. According to Laurence, an analogous process is unfolding across the Sunni Muslim world in the 21st century. Read more on BC News.

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