History of IRCL

The Institute for Research on the Renaissance, the Neo-Classical Age, and the Enlightenment (IRCL) is a joint research centre (UMR) of CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) and the University of Paul-Valéry Monpellier 3. It was created in 2003 following the merging of two research centres, CEDIM (Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies) and CERRA (Centre for Studies and Research on the English Renaissance).

IRCL’s mission is to analyse the construction and emergence of European modern thought, from the Renaissance to the end of the 18th century. Four primary features of modern thought have been identified and are used to delineate the fields of study:

  • the progressive autonomisation of the frameworks of thought in relation to religion;
  • the persistence of heritages and traditions from Antiquity to the Middle Ages;
  • the renewal of aesthetic forms of expression; and
  • the advent of the printing press and the book.

The IRCL’s team of about 40 researchers and lecturer-researchers organise their research around these characteristics and have designated three research fields and two transversal seminars, into which members are grouped and engage in collective work.