The Enlightenment of the 18th and 19th centuries, when science and rationality began to replace religion in understandings of the world, is often thought of as a European phenomenon.

Christopher de Bellaigue’s new book challenges this preconception, demonstrating that dogmas were similarly challenged and new worlds imagined across the Middle East as well as the West. Christopher reveals the hidden histories of modernising sultans and proto-feminists, uncovering the exchanges of goods and ideas between east and west that constitute the early history of globalisation. Yet he also shows the darker side to this history, revealing the forces of reaction that sought to repress new ideas that endangered the status-quo.

Event Chair Ehsan Masood, journalist and broadcaster joins Christopher as he launches The Islamic Enlightenment and discusses this exciting new book. 

About The Speaker

Christopher de Bellaigue

Christopher has worked as a journalist in South Asia and the Middle East, writing for The Economist, The Guardian, and The New York Review of Books. He is the award-winning author of four books and has made several BBC television programmes. His latest book is The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle Between Faith and Reason.

About The Chair

Ehsan Masood

Ehsan Masood is a science journalist and editor of Research Fortnight. His books include The Great Invention: The Story of GDP and the Making and Unmaking of the Modern World and Science and Islam: A History. He is chair of trustees of the Muslim Institute Trust and teaches science and innovation policy at Imperial College.