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.

C. Enlightened Spaces

6. Enlightenment in Global Networks

European culture is connected with the different areas of the world, and not only since the colonial era. Besides the missions and colonies in the Americas, in both Indias as well as in other parts of the world, a significant strain on the traditional powers and cultures, as well as hegemonic claims, can also always be found.

What can, aspires to or should be considered enlightened in the face of this global constellation? What should not? The topic “Enlightenment in global networks” will accordingly resituate these questions in relationship to missionary endeavours and colonialism.

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7. Anhalt-Dessau: Model Land of the Enlightenment?

Anhalt-Dessau was, at the end of the 18th century, among the so-called “less-powerful” imperial territories. The territory owed its reputation beyond its narrow borders to the willingness of Prince Leopold III (Friedrich Franz von Hanhalt-Dessau) to display his prestige in the Garden Kingdom of Wörlitz. This landscaped garden and its buildings already earned the prince a great renown during his lifetime.

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