The contrast between Enlightenment and Romanticism is commonly used to define the beginning and end, respectively, of the cultural shift that takes us from traditional to modern cultural forms. Our themes flag the complexity of this shift; the ways in which it was influenced, adopted, or challenged by non-European cultures; and its legacies in the present.

But our themes are also a manifesto, announcing that this field is shaped by historical forces entangled with each other. Our mode of working is therefore necessarily collaborative, interdisciplinary, and methodologically innovative.

  • Each theme identifies a line of force linking Enlightenment/Romanticism with its legacies in the present. Clicking on the images takes you to a summary of the relevant theme, which appears alongside a list of related projects on which members of the ERCC are working. An alphabetical list of projects can be found under Projects.
  • Seen as a whole, these themes represent a culturally diverse, interdisciplinary community of scholars, artists, galleries, and community groups in conversation with each other—a conversation we believe is crucial if we are to understand and so redirect the lines of force shaping the present, its pasts, and our futures.
  • Just as importantly the lines of force traced by our themes, along with the community they have gathered and conversations they continue to provoke, provide the wide platform and broad expertise necessary to address our guiding question, namely ‘What does it mean to be human in the 21st century?’