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.

B. Structures of Knowledge

4. Forms of Representation and Epistemic Models

The specifically culturally open situation of the Enlightenment can be seen in particular in the profound modification of the prevailing orders of knowledge. This is discernible in the steadily growing multiplicity of interpretations of the world, as well as in the epistemic models that shaped and structured it. This research theme addresses the artistic, communicative, and discursive dimensions of this epistemological change.

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5. Academic Culture and the Politics of Knowledge

The projects in the research field “Academic Culture and the Politics of Knoweldge” investigate the institutional conditions and practices of the production of knowledge. What factors organise the field of the production of ideas? What patterns of behaviour govern the politics of knowledge, and how are ideas and texts shaped by the practices, techniques and communication systems governing the development, processing, and distribution of knowledge?

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