Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für die Erforschung der Europäischen Aufklärung

Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg Siegel

Interdisciplinary Centre for European Enlightenment Studies

The IZEA was founded in 1990 as a central scientific institution of the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. As a research institution for the history of culture and ideas, it explores the foundation of modern Western societies through the study of ideas and cultural patterns developed in the 18th century.

18th century studies

The research program includes research and publishing projects dedicated to a wide variety of themes, such as the history of universities, societies and communication; anthropology, aesthetics, culture and knowledge transfer, scholarly culture and literary forms of representation in the 18th century; the development of cultural patterns; the Enlightenment in global networks; and the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz.

Connected with the region's research institutions

The IZEA is located in the Red School, built in 1896, which was formerly the Higher School for Girls of the Francke Foundations. The IZEA houses a public library containing primary sources and research literature related to the Enlightenment in regional and European contexts. The Alexander von Humboldt Chair of Modern Written Culture and European Knowledge Transfer and the Immanuel-Kant-Forum also have their offices in the building.

Enlightenment studies in international networks

Thanks to its outstanding library, its publishing projects, its geographic proximity to important historic sites related to the Enlightenment (including extensive archives, libraries and art collections), and its partnerships with major cultural and scientific institutions,  the IZEA is now one of the most important international research institutes dedicated to the study of the Enlightenment, and is an essential meeting point for scientists from around the world.


Music in the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz - Annual conference 2016

Dessau-Wörlitz Commission Conference

6th-8th October, 2016

Anhaltische Landesbücherei Dessau, Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek und Sondersammlungen

Organisers: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hirschmann, PD Dr. Adrian La Salvia

At the heart of the conference lies the source-based research on the musical landscape of Dessau-Wörlitz in the long eighteenth century (from 1766 until around 1830) and its significance for the Dessau-Wörlitz cultural site. The foundation in 1766 of the Dessau Court Chapel, which promotes until this day a lively tradition of musical theatre and celebrates its 250th anniversary, the establishment of the so-called “private theatre”, as well as the opening of the Dessau ducal court theatre in 1798 (one of the biggest in Germany along with the Berlin and Bayreuth margravial Opera Houses) constitute the keystones of a development which goes back to the beginnings of the reform movement in Dessau-Wörlitz, and which are conceptually inscribed in this movement. This conference will extensively explore the connections between garden landscaping, architecture, and music. The focus will not only be on the garden as a royal setting, but also on the idea of nature as being musically transcended.



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