Slide 01 Slide 02 Slide 03 Slide
                  04 Slide 05

04Jun 2023

Conference: ISECS 2023, Rome

Panel (Friday, 7 July): “Non-Knowledge is Power”? Transformations of the Concept of Ignorance in Enlightenment Literature and Culture

The self-awareness of ancient philosophy is based on overcoming ignorance, which is viewed pejoratively as an ‘aberration’ of the mind (Plato), the mark of the ‘fool’ (Stoics). Medieval authors have perpetuated this by association of ignorance with sin. With Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) and its emphasis on the limits of the human mind, however, a shift in the discussion has been initiated. In the Enlightenment period, “ignorance […] became one of the decisive terms of contrast contouring the guiding concept of the epoch” (von Wille 182). Enlightenment discourses therefore frequently advocate that non-knowledge has been elevated, by applying reason, to docta ignorantia, the recognition of one’s own imperfection. From then on, the focus has been on different kinds of ignorance, theories of cognition, the progress of reason.

This panel explores how literature and culture engage with this thesis and the surrounding discourses of non-knowledge, ancient and modern, as well as the proposed ‘breach’ with pejorative notions of ignorance. We are interested in what terms are used in negotiating epistemological limits. Specifically, we encourage papers that examine representations of ignorance through media-specific tools, for example, what types of literary characters embody different practices of dealing with non-knowledge.

For more information, see

Symposium: The Ethics and Narratives of Non-Knowledge: Literary and Cultural Perspectives on the Limits of Research, 02-04 November 2022

Funded by Volkswagen Stiftung. This event takes place during the Thematic Week “Ethics of Science. Current Challenges, Opportunities and Limitations”
  For more information, see

Anglistik 33.2 (Summer Issue 2022)

Selected Papers from the 2021 Conference of the German Association for the Study of English. Selection Editor: Daniela Wawra und Jonathan Rose. Section editors for section "Limits of Knowledge -- Knowledge of Limits. The Productiveness of Ignorance, Non-Knowledge and Agnotology in Anglophone Studies, Literature and Culture": Anna Auguscik and Simone Broders.

01May 2021

The Age of Curiosity: The Neural Network of an Idea in Eighteenth-Century English Literature

Challenging the ‘success story’ of curiosity from original sin to intellectual virtue, this study uses an innovative methodological approach to the history of ideas as a non-teleological neural network based on current research in information technology and neurophysiology. The network offers a dynamic alternative to the ‘development’ of curiosity within the progress-oriented mythology of the Enlightenment, emphasizing the oscillation and interaction of ideas within the processes of their construction, as well as exposing the power relations behind them.

The Age of Curiosity
ontributes to current debates on a post-Foucauldian renewal of Lovejoy’s history of ideas in Enlightenment studies, exploring both curiosity as an indispensable trait for the search of answers to the fundamental yet unresolved questions of ‘identity’ or ‘truth’, and its potential as cura, care for others and the world.
Web Site

Academic Skills: An Introduction for English and American Studies (UTB)

An introduction to academic skills which leaves nothing to be desired – designed for students of English and American Studies, this companion will guide you through research, presentation, quoting and style, as well as the composition of essays and term papers. Acquiring these competences will not only equip you for the expectations of university studies but will also enhance your communication skills and promote your ability to think critically and
independently. The book is rounded off by strategies for exam preparation and plenty of practice exercises complete with solutions.
UTB Site

Paragesellschaften. Imaginationen - Inszenierungen - Interaktionen. Berlin: deGruyter, 2021 (forthc.)

In politischen und medialen Debatten werden unter dem häufig stigmatisierend gebrauchten Schlagwort ‚Parallelgesellschaften‘ Fragen gesellschaftlicher Homogenität und Heterogenität kontrovers diskutiert. Diesem reduktionistischen Gestus setzt der Band das offene Konzept der ‚Paragesellschaft‘ entgegen und ermöglicht dadurch eine differenzierte Annäherung an mediale Reflexionen des soziopolitischen und gesellschaftlichen Umgangs mit Diversität in verschiedenen Dispositiven der Gegenwart.
14MAY 2021

Anglistentag 2021 

Limits of Knowledge -- Knowledge of Limits. The Productiveness of Ignorance, Non-Knowledge and Agnotology in Anglophone Studies, Literature and Culture.

Most recently, but also ensuing the crisis in the humanities, much has been written about knowledge in literature, fiction, or literary form. In this panel, we focus on how we speak - who and in which contexts - about limits of knowledge and knowledge of limits.

250x250 ad
Simone Broders teaches English Literature and Culture at Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg. She also teaches the seminar "From Angel in the House to New Woman: Women in English Modernist Literature" at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg.

In 2022, she was a visiting professor for English literature at the University of Cologne.

Her research interests include English literature and culture of the 'Long' Eighteenth Century, contemporary writing in Britain, Digital Humanities, and in transfer processes between literature and other media, such as film, television and graphic novels.


Symposium The Ethics and Narratives of Non-Knowledge: Literary and Cultural Perspectives on the Limits of Research (02-04 November 2022)

click here for details

Tagung: Paragesellschaften. Imaginationen - Inszenierungen - Interaktionen (10.-11.02.2020)
Die Tagung analysiert Selbst- und Fremddarstellungen von Gruppen, die zwar innerhalb der territorialen, aber außerhalb der politischen, ökonomischen, sozialen, religiösen und/oder kulturellen Ordnung eines Gemeinwesens verortet werden, im Hinblick auf ihre Inszenierungsstrategien, narrativen Konstruktionen und ästhetischen Potenziale.
Conference Contribution: "The Curious Self: ISECS 2019, International Congress on the Enlightenment, University of Edinburgh, UK: Session 8, 244: Periodical Identities
Wednesday, 7 July 2019, 8 am to 9.30 am

Conference Contribution: "Von Hippies und Höllenfürsten: Toxische Glücksversprechen in Kim Newmans Jago". Tagung Glücks-versprechen. Inszenierungen und Instrumentalisierungen alternativer Lebensentwürfe in den Gegenwarts-kulturen. 19 September 2019, 13.45-14.30.