Enlightenment Projects - The Oxford-Berlin Enlightenment Hub

Enlightenment Projects is the first international conference and workshop event organised by The Berlin-Oxford Enlightenment Hub. Constituted in 2018, the Enlightenment Hub is one of the 29 collaborative projects to have been awarded funding as part of the Oxford-Berlin Research Partnership in 2018. The Enlightenment Hub brings together Oxford and the Berlin universities and allows them to pool their significant strengths in this area spanning the disciplines of English, History, Philosophy, Theology, Modern Languages, History of Science, Social and Political Sciences. The collaboration also involves institutions such as the Voltaire Foundation and University museums and collections, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, and the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, amongst others.

Over three days, Enlightenment Projects brings together leading scholars of the Enlightenment and the Eighteenth Century more broadly to discuss the Enlightenment origins of concepts and practices which shaped and continue to inflect our modern worldview, from popular sovereignty, religious toleration, and literary and scientific practices to free markets, resource extraction, and projects for (national) improvement. Alongside smaller workshop sessions on themes like “Networks and Networking”, “Genres and Media” and “Legacies of the Enlightenment”, there will be an evening roundtable event and wine reception, “Writing the Enlightenment(s)”, on Monday 30th September to celebrate the official launch of the Hub.

Following this first event in Oxford, there will be a second conference with the theme of “Enlightenment Futures” in Berlin in March 2020, looking particularly at opportunities to develop collaborations between digital humanities projects in both cities and involving the great university libraries in Berlin and Oxford.

Participation is free but registration is necessary. For further information, or to register for the event, please contact: barry.murnane@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk.


Monday 30 September

14:00-15:30     Networks and Networking

(The Barn, St John’s College)

Chair: Nicholas Cronk (French/Voltaire Foundation, Oxford)

  • Daniel Zimmer (German, HU): Enlightenment at Court. Anglo-German Relations
  • Catriona Seth (French, Oxford): Personal Correspondences
  • Martin Urmann (French, FU): Prize Contests as Media of Knowledge in the French Academies from 1670
  • Howard Hotson (History, Oxford): Prospects for Networking the Republic of Letters


16:00-18:00     Writing the Enlightenment(s): a roundtable discussion

(St John’s College Auditorium, Garden Quad)

Chair: Karen O’Brien (Head of Humanities, Oxford)

Discussants: Steffen Martus (German, HU), Stefanie Stockhorst (German, Potsdam), Ritchie Robertson (German, Oxford), Andrew Kahn (Russian, Oxford); this event will be in English and German

18:15                Drinks Reception

(St John’s College Auditorium, Garden Quad)

Tuesday 1 October

9:00-10:30      Genres and Media  

(The Barn, St John’s College)

Chair: Kathryn Murphy (English, Oxford)

Anita Traninger (French, FU): Competing Communities: Debating the Enlightenment

Roman Kuhn (French, FU): Enlightening Classicism: Generic and Temporal Hybridisations?

Friederike Günther (German, FU): Competition between image and sound in the early 18th century

Claudia Olk (English, LMU): Shakespeare in eighteenth-century German Criticism


11:00-12:30      Critique & Controversy 

(The Barn, St John’s College)

Chair: Avi Lifschitz (History, Oxford)

Brian Young (History, Oxford): Christians and Unbelievers in Enlightenment England

Stefan Willer (German, HU), Enlightened Eschatology

Kevin Hilliard (German, Oxford), Polemical Theology (Pro and Contra)

Caroline Warman (French, Oxford): Diderot's Eléments de physiologie between physiology and philosophy

Matthias Pohlig (History, HU): Apocalypticism and Enlightenment


15:00-16:30     Practices of Enlightenments I  

(The Barn, St John’s College)

Chair: Barry Murnane (German, Oxford)

Mark-Georg Dehrmann (German, HU): Enlightening the Arts and Crafts: The Example of Printers’ Manuals

Stefanie Stockhorst (German, Potsdam): Equitation for the Public Sphere: Disclosure and Concealment of Practical Knowledge in 18th-Century Riding Manuals

Steffen Martus/Charlotte Kurbjuhn (German, HU): Doing Aesthetics

David Taylor (English, Oxford): Visual Thinking and Thinking the Visual in Eighteenth-Century Theatre


17:00-18:30     Practices of Enlightenment II 

(The Barn, St John’s College)

Chair: Barry Murnane (German, Oxford)

Erica Charters (History, Oxford): War, Knowledge, and Enlightenment

Giora Sternberg (History, Oxford): Writing Acts: The Power of Writing in the Ancien Régime

Helga Schwalm (English, HU): Embedded Lives: Enlightenment Dictionaries, Small Biographies in Interaction, and Biographical Knowledge

Marie-Theres Federhofer (Scandinavian, HU), Patient’s Participation: Illness Narratives and Medical Knowledge

Wednesday 2 October  

9:00-10:30      Legacies of Enlightenment

(The Barn, St John’s College)

Chair: Howard Hotson (History, Oxford)

Paul Lodge (Philosophy, Oxford): Leibniz’s Philosophy as a Way of Life?

Ritchie Robertson (German, Oxford): Representative or Revolutionary Democracy: Madison or Paine?

Jessica Goodman (French, Oxford): Self-Projection in Mercier’s l’An 2440

Nicholas Cronk (French/Voltaire Foundation, Oxford): Digitizing Enlightenment


FU: Freie Universität, Berlin

HU: Humboldt-Universität, Berlin

Generously supported and hosted by:


The Oxford-Berlin Partnership

TORCH: The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities

The Voltaire Foundation, Oxford

St John’s College, Oxford