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.


The IZEA is headed by the Managing Director in consultation with a Board of Directors, which is composed of professors from various disciplines (English Studies, Evangelical Theology, German philology, History, Musicology, East European History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Romance philology). The Board of Directors puts forward new research projects and organizes the conferences and series of lectures at the IZEA. Its members work in collaboration with partners from within and outside Germany, and represent the IZEA in other scientific institutions. The Board is responsible for the publication of the scientific editions of the IZEA, as well as for the awarding of fellowships.

The IZEA supports research projects and feels particularly committed to the promotion of young researchers. In order to do so, the Board appoints graduate (in particular Ph.D.) scholars for fixed-term positions, invites guest researchers, and awards scholarships and fellowships to doctoral students and postdocs.

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