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.


[] Bildnis des Archäologen Johann Joachim Winckelmann, das im Zentrum der Winckelmann-Ausstellung 2017 in Weimar stehen wird

Enlightenment, Classicism and the Classics. Concepts of periods as historical constructions in European Context

Elisabeth Décultot, Martin Dönike, Claudia Keller und Denis Stante

The goal of this project is to investigate the terms given to the periods of the Enlightenment, Classicism and the Classics as historical constructions and hence to ask about their meaning for a retrospective understanding of the long 18th century. The reconstruction of terminological and intellectual-historical contexts will pay particular attention to internationally diverging terminological traditions and historical asynchronicities across Europe.

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Excerpting, Citing, Plagiarizing. Written Culture, Academic Practices and Authorship (16th–21st century)

Elisabeth Décultot, Christian Kuhlmann, Helmut Zedelmaier

This project investigates transformations in reading and writing with regard to the practices of excerpting, citing and plagiarizing from the early modern period up to the present day, across all of Europe. The C18th deserves particular attention here as a transitionary period and link between the humanistic tradition and the present day.

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Edition of the Collected Writings of Johann Georg Sulzer

Elisabeth Décultot, Philipp Kampa, Jana Kittelmann

In this ten-volume edition of his Collected Writings (Gesammelte Schriften, ed. Hans Adler and Elisabeth Décultot, Schwabe Verlag, Basel), Johann Georg Sulzer's publications as a member of the philosophical section of the Berlin Academy will be edited alongside his aesthetic, scientific, pedagogic and literary-historical writings, as well as unpublished correspondences that demonstrate the variety of the fields of knowledge with which Sulzer engaged.

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