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.

Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

To what extent and how is literary and scholarly originality contingent on the reception of others’ works? How have scholars read other scholars? And what is to be found of a scholar’s reading in his or her own works? How is scholarly knowledge taken up in non-written media such as in works of fine art? Questions such as these are to be pursued by the chair for Modern Written Culture and European Knowledge Transfer in order, in particular, to understand the transfer of knowledge in aesthetics and the theory of art from the early modern period to the present day.

The chair of Modern Written Culture and European Knowledge Transfer was established in 2015 at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg for the Humboldt Professor Elisabeth Décultot. Professor Décultot, who is sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, is based at the Department of German Studies in Halle and at the Interdisciplinary Centre for European Enlightenment Studies (IZEA).


Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für die Erforschung der Europäischen Aufklärung (IZEA)
Franckeplatz 1 // Haus 54
06110 Halle (Saale)

Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Institut für Germanistik
Philosophische Fakultät II
Ludwig-Wucherer-Str. 2
06108 Halle (Saale)

Homepage of the Departement of German Studies

Homepage of the Humboldt Professorship

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