Globalising the Enlightenment: Knowledge, Culture, Travel, Exchange and Collections

Since the establishment of the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, enlightenment studies have been one of its main foci. This is a reflection of the rich tradition of the University of Göttingen as well as of the large number of scholars at the University of Göttingen currently working in the field of enlightenment studies. Additionally, the University and the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities are hosting many research projects concerned with 18th century studies. The Lichtenberg-Kolleg supported these endeavours with a number of workshops and the set-up of a research group on “The Nature of Man in the European and Atlantic Enlightenment(s)” for the period of 2013-2015.

The upcoming research group in enlightenment studies in 2015-2017 will be established under the topic “Globalizing the Enlightenment: Knowledge, Culture, Travel, Exchange and Collections”.

This research focus reflects the interest of Göttingen scholars in enlightenment studies as well as recent trends in interdisciplinary work on the 18th century. Questions of global entanglements, networks of exchange and trans-local mobility are currently one of the most debated and productive topics in enlightenment studies. At the same time studies from a variety of disciplines in the humanities focus especially on knowledge and its material manifestations as well as its production processes in a European and Global context.

Topics and research interests may include but are not restricted to

  • exchange and mobility of people, ideas, goods, species, objects


  • university history and the making of the disciplines


  • moral philosophy and natural law


  • natural history, medicine and university collections


  • literature and the arts


  • global history of knowledge


  • media and infrastructures


  • institutions and institutionalisation


  • digital humantities and global enlightenment(s