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 Göttingen Campus 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 and 2015-2017 with a research group named Globalising the Enlightenment: Knowledge, Culture, Travel, Exchange and Collections. We will continue this line of inquiry also in 2017-2019.

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.

We established a Reading Group and Colloquium on Enlightenment Studies which meets biweekly at the observatory.

Topics and research interests 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
  • gender, race and diversity
  • religion, reason and rationality
  • natural history, medicine and university collections
  • enlightenment literature and the arts
  • global history of knowledge
  • media and infrastructures
  • institutions and institutionalisation
  • digital humantities and global enlightenment(s)



Early Career Fellows 2019-2021


Shiru Lim
Research Project:The Politics of Deception in Enlightenment Europe.
Adam Storring
Research Project: the ‘Intellectual History of War’, taking the example of the Prussian King Frederick II (reigned 1740 – 1786).


Mid-Career and Senior Fellows 2019-2021


Lars Magnusson (Professor for Economic History Uppsala University) October 2017 to February 2018
Research Project: Cameralism as theory and practice in Europe, 17th-19th centuries.


Göttingen Scholars

working in the research area are



Collaborating research initiatives on Göttingen Campus:


Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities (GCDH)
Zentrale Kustodie (Centre for Collection Development)


Postgraduate Research Groups:


Academy of Science and Humanities Projects: