Learn more about the team of people involved in making the network happen…

Tracey SowerbyDr Tracey Sowerby (PI)

University of Oxford

Tracey Sowerby researches early modern politics, religion, print culture, and intellectual culture and the interactions between them. At present she is researching the cultural history of Tudor diplomacy, considering how English diplomatic practice, personnel and theory adapted to three major sixteenth century developments: the introduction of resident ambassadors, the English Reformation and female rule. She is also interested in the role of diplomacy as a site of cultural exchange, diplomatic gifts, the circulation of ideas and texts through diplomatic channels, ambassadors’ intellectual and religious networks, the effectiveness and uniformity of royal iconography, the equipping of diplomats and the impact of ambassadorial service on politicians’ notions of the English state. Tracey has published a monograph, Renaissance and Reform in Tudor England: The Careers of Sir Richard Morison (OUP, 2010), which examines the activities of an influential Tudor humanist and diplomat. She has written about several aspects of diplomatic culture including the diplomatic uses of printed propaganda, the role of portraits in diplomatic practice, the politics of space in diplomatic audiences, and the impact of the reformation on Henrician diplomats and is currently preparing two books for OUP: a cultural history of the Tudor diplomatic corps and a history of Tudor diplomatic culture.

Dr Joanna Craigwood (Co-I)

Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge
Joanna Craigwood is Fellow in English and Graduate Tutor at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, where she was formerly the Austin Robinson Research Fellow. Jo works on English literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and her research pursues the many connections between literary writing and diplomacy in this period. She is particularly interested in overlapping theories and practices of representation, from uses of rhetorical or dramatic theory to understand ambassadorial work, to uses of diplomatic tropes to think about the art of literary writing. Jo has published on diplomatic agency in the international circulation of books, manuscripts and literary news in the seventeenth century, and on intersecting theories of poetic and diplomatic representation in the late sixteenth-century writings of Philip Sidney and Alberico Gentili. Her work on ideas of authorship and representation surrounding Shakespearean ambassadors is forthcoming this year. She is currently working on a book manuscript with the provisional title Literature and Diplomacy in the English Renaissance.

Dr Robyn Adams

Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, University College London

Robyn Adams is the Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters at University College London. Her research focuses on information networks and intelligence services in early modern England. Her work in this area includes studies of William Herle and Thomas Bodley, and their various nuanced diplomatic activities. She is particularly interested in agents working outside of the formal diplomatic structures, as well as the administrative activity occurring within the embassy and the intelligence-gathering bureaux back home. Her published research has explored the intelligencer’s role within the information networks of Elizabethan England, examining large unpublished corpora of manuscript letters. This correspondence has revealed compelling clues as to the way the activities of spies, intelligencers and informal diplomatic agents fed and greased the wheels of government policy. The research explores the wider perimeters of the correspondence, taking into account the other materials that were often sent with the letters, for instance books and maps, or which were inscribed upon the letters at the time of composition, reading and reception, i.e. marginal annotation.

Continuing her study of Thomas Bodley, Robyn is developing a new digital project which examines the early years of the Bodleian Library. After his return from the Low Countries in 1597 following a decade-long embassy, Bodley called in favours from the powerful political friends he had made during his diplomatic service, requesting that they donate books to his re-founded Library. The project analyses these early deposits in relation to the index of donations recorded in Benefactors’ Register. Bodley had switched to a different kind of information network, and it is through the various surviving manuscript records relating to the re-foundation of the Bodleian, his personal correspondence and the marks of provenance which can be found in the books themselves that Robyn hopes to further understand this activity.

Dr Warren Boutcher

Queen Mary, University of London
Warren Boutcher is Reader in Renaissance Studies in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, University of London. Warren is interested in transnational literary contexts in the early modern period, and works mainly on English, French, and Italian texts. He has just completed what may become a 3-volume study for OUP entitled The School of Montaigne in Early Modern Europe. This looks at the Essais not just as a text received in various ways by readers but as a book that was designed by its author for travel across a Europe divided along religio-political lines. In England, Montaigne was welcomed via an English translation as a potentially suspect Roman Catholic whose credentials – deducible from his text – nevertheless showed him to be trustworthy. He also found friends, via his book, in other locations such as Rome, Geneva and Venice. Other books did not fare so well in the age of confessionalisation. As ‘textual ambassadors’ they became the focus of international conflict. One example of this is de Thou’s Historiae which, along with other works both by French and by Jesuit authors, was caught up in the political and intellectual struggles between France and the Papacy in the early seventeenth century. In other words, Warren is interested in the real senses in which the transnational fortunes of books produce and manifest international relations of various kinds in this period.


susan brigden, lincoln college oxfordDr Susan Brigden

Lincoln College, University of Oxford

Susan Brigden is Paul Langford Fellow in History at Lincoln College.  Her principal interest lies in the Renaissance and Reformation in England.  Her first book was London and the Reformation (1989).  In 2000 she published New Worlds, Lost Worlds, the 16th century volume in the Penguin History of Britain.  Her most recent book, Thomas Wyatt: the Heart’s Forest (2012), is a study of Thomas Wyatt, a great poet, a glittering courtier at the court of Henry VIII, and resident ambassador with Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. She continues to study diplomacy at the Reformation, and literary coteries at Henry’s court and in London.

Dr Rosanna Cox

University of Kent

Rosanna Cox is Lecturer in Early Modern Studies  and Co-Director of the Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Writing at the University of Kent. Currently completing a monograph on Milton and Citizenship, her work focuses on the formation of political identities, the languages of political engagement and the  relationships between gender, citizenship and hermeneutics. She is particularly interested in the ‘republican speculations’ of Milton and his contemporaries in the immediate aftermath of the regicide and in the formation of the new commonwealth. She has published a number of chapters and articles on Milton and republican ideas of liberty, on marriage and gender in the seventeenth century and on utopia and state-building in the early years of the commonwealth. Having co-edited (with Robyn Adams) a collection, Diplomacy and Early Modern Culture (Palgrave, 2011), her next project, on diplomacy and the commonwealth, will consider the ways in which diplomatic approaches to the new regime were formulated in the context of the dramatic transformations to political institutions and in political culture in the late 1640s/early 1650s and to a government in the process of hazardous self-definition.

Niels Fabian MayDr Niels Fabian-May

Niels Fabian May recently completed his doctoral dissertation Ceremonial and status: the role of the Westphalian Peace Negotiations in the development of diplomatic ceremonial. He has published on diplomatic ceremony at seventeenth-century international peace congresses as well as several aspects of the negotations leading to the Peace of Westphalia. Niels was a research assistant on the project Translation in Diplomacy and the Media within the Context of the Pre-Modern Peace Process: Europe 1450–1789. In 2010 he co-organised the conference Les délegations de la majesté. Représenter le souverain dans les monarchies d’Espagne et de la France (1516–1713) and has co-edited a volume of essays À la place du roi : vice-rois, gouverneurs et ambassadeurs dans les monarchies française et espagnole : (XVIe-XVIIIe siècles) (Madrid, 2014). Niels has also written essays on seventeenth-century diplomatic ceremonial and the Abbé Saint Pierre’s project for perpetual peace.

Professor Timothy Hampton

University of California, Berkeley

Timothy Hampton is Professor of Comparative Literature and Chair of French at the University of California Berkeley, where he helps direct the research colloquium on “Diplomacy and Culture.” He has written widely on early modern literature in its various forms (epic, lyric, dramatic, narrative) across the European languages. Among his publications are Fictions of Embassy: Literature and Diplomacy in Early Modern Europe (Cornell, 2010), Literature and Nation in the Sixteenth Century: Inventing Renaissance France (Cornell, 2000), and Writing from History: The Rhetoric of Exemplarity in Renaissance Literature (Cornell, 1990). For work in progress see here.

Current interests include three themes that intersect with the concerns of the workshop. They are: (1) The history of the treaty. How does the treaty function as a “text” during the early modern period? How are the rhetoric and authority of treaties understood and theorized? How are treaties to be read and interpreted? Is there a hermeneutics of the treaty? (2) The role of different languages in diplomatic exchange and negotiation.  How does the status of the vernacular change as diplomatic culture moves toward what we might call the “Grotian moment”? What types of thinking about language and politics pertain in contexts where warring vernaculars begin to claim authority over Latin? (3) The relationship between diplomacy and self-representation in courtly theatre. How does the idea of “speaking for another” become a theme in both comedy and tragedy? How does literary ventriloquism relate to diplomatic ventriloquism? How can a character come on stage, to quote Calderón, as “an ambassador for myself”?

Dr Jan Hennings

Central European University

Jan Hennings is Assistant Professor at the Central European University in Budapest. Formerly, he held a Junior Research Fellow in History at St John’s College, Oxford before being a Gerda Henkel Fellow and Visiting Faculty Member at Sabanci University, Istanbul. His work has focused on Russian-European diplomacy in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Jan’s interest in the ‘textual ambassador’ results from a strand of his research that explores the two-way relationship between Russia’s image in Western travel literature and the workings of diplomatic practice and procedure. His doctoral dissertation earned him the German Historical Association’s Hedwig Hintze Prize 2012. He is also the winner of the Fritz Theodor Epstein Prize, awarded by the German Association of Historians of Eastern Europe. His first book, entitled Russia and Courtly Europe: Ritual and Diplomatic Culture, 1648-1725, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. Jan continues to pursue research on early modern diplomacy. His new project, Centres Beyond the Periphery, will extend the European focus of diplomatic history to recover the links between the Russian and the Ottoman empires.

Dr Edward Holberton

University of Bristol

Edward Holberton is a Lecturer in English at the University of Bristol. His publications include Poetry and The Cromwellian  Protectorate: Culture, Politics, and Institutions (Oxford University Press,  2008). Edward’s research includes interests in the relationship between early modern writing and institutions, and in reading early modern texts in the contexts of international affairs. These interests converged in his first monograph, Poetry and the Cromwellian Protectorate: Culture, Politics and Institutions, which discusses Anglo-Swedish diplomatic relations, the manuscript  culture and gift exchanges of early modern embassies, and the Atlantic World of  the 1650s. He has continued to pursue research in both of these areas: he has an  ongoing interest in the diplomatic contexts of Andrew Marvell’s writing, and his responses to the Anglo-Dutch wars of the seventeenth century. Edward is also developing new work that reads early modern literature in the context of the transformation of the Atlantic world. Relatedly, he has a growing interest in the relationship between literature and writing about ‘the law of nations’.


Dr André Krischer

University of Munster

André Krischer is Juniorprofessor at the University of Munster. André studied History, Philosophy and English Literature in Cologne, Bonn and  Muenster. His dissertation, Reichsstädte in der Fürstengesellschaft. Politischer Zeichengebrauch in der Frühen Neuzeit was published in 2006. This book deals with the ceremonial interactions of Free Imperial Cities and the European aristocracy in the early modern period and is intended as a contribution to a new cultural history of diplomacy and “foreign policy”. André has also published several articles and book chapters on the functions and the social meaning of diplomatic protocol in the 17th and 18th centuries. In these articles he has argued that we need to get away from the paradigms and concepts of the 19th century, speaking of “states” and “the international system”. Instead of that, we should focus on particular actors and a social context that could be labelled as the “society of princes”. André is also co-editing a book series that fosters the approach of actor-centred foreign relations in early modernity (“Externa. Aussenbeziehungen in neuen Perspektiven”). As an assistant professor of British History, he has worked on other topics in recent years, for instance on a micro-history of the English State Trials, on Religion and Law in 18th century England, and on the history of terrorism and political crime in the 18th and 19th century. However, André is currently working on two articles on foreign relations: One deals with what is usually called the “Englandpolitik” of Prince Bishop Christoph Bernhard von Galen from Muenster, ca. 1650-1670. It looks at the various channels, networks, actors, and discontinuities in these relations. The other article is concerned with John Milton as the Secretary of Foreign Tongues of the English Commonwealth, with a special focus on his “Letters of State to most of the Sovereign Princes and Republics” and the further correspondence of the Republic with the Hanseatic cities of Bremen and Hamburg. Most of André’s articles, books and book chapters can be viewed on his webpage, with a full list of publications.

Dr Mark Netzloff

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Mark Netzloff is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is the author of England’s Internal Colonies: Class, Capital, and the Literature of Early Modern English Colonialism (Palgrave, 2003) and the editor of John Norden’s The Surveyor’s Dialogue: A Critical Edition (Ashgate, 2010). He is currently completing a book monograph, Extraterritorial Sovereignties: English State Agents in Early Modern Europe.  The project examines the literary and professional lives of the English state’s extraterritorial representatives in the late Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, with particular attention to their material practices of writing, networks of association, modes of affect and sociability, and formulations of agency and critique.  It focuses on four groups of extraterritorial agents:  travellers and intelligence agents, Catholic exiles, mercenaries, and diplomats.  Figures discussed include Fynes Moryson, Thomas Coryat, William Cardinal Allen, George Gascoigne, and Sir Henry Wotton.

Recent publications have analysed such topics as theories of sovereignty and the politics of periodization, the changing status of Catholic exiles in international law following the Gunpowder Plot, comedy and models of public diplomacy, and Anglo-Venetian intelligence networks.

jose_maria.perez_fernandezDr  José Maria Pérez Fernandez

University of Granada

José María Pérez Fernandez teaches English literature and translation at the University of Granada, where he obtained his PhD with a dissertation on the Earl of Surrey’s translation of Virgil’s Aeneid. His research interests focus on the relations between translation, diplomacy and the book trade, the international republic of letters and the early modern idea of Europe. His most recent publications include an article on the Spanish physician, humanist and translator Andrés Laguna (‘Andrés Laguna: Translation and the Early Modern Idea of Europe’, Translation and Literature 21 (2012): 299-318), and a critical edition of James Mabbe’s 1631 translation of La Celestina (The Spanish Bawd, MHRA Tudor Translations, 2013). A collective volume titled Translation and the Book Trade in Early Modern Europe (co-edited with Edward Wilson-Lee) is currently under review for Cambridge University Press. Forthcoming in 2014 are also two essays, one on James Mabbe and his background (‘Translation, Diplomacy and Espionage: New Insights into James Mabbe’s Career’, Translation and Literature, 23:1, Feb/March, 2014), and a bibliographical essay on the picaresque in British and Irish literature for the Oxford Bibliographies. Two of his articles on Surrey’s poetry and his translations have won the University of Granada Excellence in Research Award (‘“Wyatt resteth here”. Surrey’s Republican Elegy’, Renaissance Studies 18 (2004): 208-238, and ‘Translation and Metrical Experimentation in Sixteenth-Century English Poetry: The Case of Surrey’s Biblical Paraphrases’, Cahiers Élizabéthains 71 (2007): 1-13).

José is currently working on a book project titled Translation and the International Republic of Letters. He has been recently awarded a Cambridge Humanities Research Grant for a joint project with Edward Wilson-Lee on the European and Transatlantic dimensions of Hernando Colon’s remarkable book and manuscript collection (the Biblioteca Colombina).

Dr Diego Pirillo

University of California, Berkeley

Diego Pirillo (PhD., Scuola Normale Superiore) is Assistant Professor of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, having previously taught at the Scuola Normale Superiore and at the University of Pisa. He has held fellowships and grants at various institutions (including the Houghton Library at Harvard University, the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, the Newberry Library, the Renaissance Society of America, and the Institute of International Studies at UC Berkeley). His research interests focus on early modern philosophy, heterodoxy and political thought, with special attention to the history of books and reading. He is the author of Filosofia ed eresia nell’Inghilterra del tardo Cinquecento: Bruno, Sidney e i dissidenti religiosi italiani (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2010) and among the contributors to the Cambridge Companion to the Italian Renaissance (CUP, 2013) and to the Ashgate Research Companion to Anglo-Italian Renaissance Literature and Culture (Ashgate, in press). He is currently working on a new monograph (tentatively entitled Heretical Readers: Prohibited Books in the Anglo-Italian Renaissance) which concentrates on the Italian Protestant reformers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, examining their reading practices and their role as intelligencers, cultural brokers and news-gatherers between courts, embassies and print shops. Among his most recent articles are “Balance of Power and Freedom of the Seas: Alberico Gentili and Richard Hakluyt” (in Richard Hakluyt and Travel Writing in Early Modern Europe (Ashgate, 2012)); “Republicanism and Religious Dissent: Machiavelli and the Italian Protestant Reformers” (in Machiavellian Encounters in Tudor and Stuart England: Literary and Political Influences from the Reformation to the Restoration (Ashgate, 2013)); and “Tasso at the French Embassy: Epic, Diplomacy and the Law of Nations” (in Authority and Diplomacy from Dante to Shakespeare (Ashgate, 2013)).

Dr Jason Powell

Saint Joseph’s University

Jason Powell is an Assistant Professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University. His work examines textual, material and historical intersections between literary and diplomatic cultures in the Tudor era. He recently completed the first of two contracted volumes in his edition of The Complete Works of Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder (including Wyatt’s thirty-two extant diplomatic letters) for Oxford University Press. With William T. Rossiter, he co-edited Authority and Diplomacy from Dante to Shakespeare (Ashgate, 2013). His published essays have examined, among other topics, conceptions of diplomatic metonymy in poetry by Wyatt and Sidney; ink recipes in embassy and their effects in literary manuscripts; the lives of obscure Henrician agents/spies abroad; and the way in which particular textual errors in State Paper manuscripts can be an indication of authorship or of the material properties of lost exemplars. He argues that the rhetorical conventions of official discourse influenced the generic conventions associated with emerging literary forms in the period, that permanent embassies fuelled literate culture in Tudor England, and that diplomatic metonymy encouraged new representations of literary selfhood in authors such as More, Wyatt and Sidney. Jason has held fellowships from the US National Endowment for the Humanities, the Donald D. Harrington Society at the University of Texas, Austin, The Bibliographical Society and The Bibliographical Society of America, as well as travel grants from the Harry Ransom Center, the Huntington Library, the Newberry Library, the British Academy and the American Philosophical Society.

Professor Joad Raymond

Queen Mary, University of London

Joad Raymond is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, and author of various books on news, cheap print and Milton. He is  currently engaged on two projects that broadly involve the theme of culture and diplomacy. First, an edition of Milton’s Defences, which pays particular attention to their distribution and use across Europe, and their attention to international politics. Secondly, News Networks in Early Modern Europe, a Leverhulme funded research network that is exploring new methods for studying the movement of news across Europe (for more information see, and that seeks to understand the culture of news not as a serious of contiguous national phenomena (with porous boundaries) but as a culture that is  international in its very identity. While the first two years of the project have been methodological, it is probable that the life of the project will be extended through a more ambitious attempt to write the history of news in Europe. Diplomats and embassies are elements of this culture.

Dr Glenn Richardson

St Mary’s University College, London

Glenn Richardson is Reader in Early Modern History at Saint Mary’s University, Twickenham in London. He has written widely on early modern kingship and queenship, the royal courts, diplomacy and cultural exchanges between England, France and Italy in the sixteenth-century.  His main publications to date are: The Field of Cloth of Gold (Yale UP, 2013), ‘The Contending Kingdoms’: France and England 1420-1700 (ed.) (Ashgate, 2008), and Renaissance Monarchy: The Reigns of Henry VIII, Francis I and Charles V (Bloomsbury, 2002). He was also co-editor with Susan Doran of Tudor England and its Neighbours (Palgrave, 2005). He is currently writing a new biography of Cardinal Wolsey, due out in 2015.

Glenn is currently the Secretary of History UK, which represents and defends the teaching of the subject in universities. He is a member, and former committee member, of the Society for Court Studies.  He has also been a member of The Society for the Study of French History since 1993. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Dr William Rossiter

University of East Anglia

Will Rossiter is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of East Anglia, specializing in late medieval and early modern literature. His research focuses primarily on Anglo-Italian literary and cultural interaction between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, and in particular the literary opportunities afforded by diplomatic exchange. His previous monograph, Chaucer and Petrarch (Brewer, 2010) was the first ever book-length study of the relationship between the Father of English Poetry and the Father of Humanism. The book examined Chaucer’s translations from Petrarch’s Latin and Italian works and the political context which enabled Chaucer to travel to Italy and encounter the works of the tre corone (Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio). His latest book, Wyatt Abroad (Brewer, 2014), examines the translations and adaptations of Italian, French and Latin poets carried out by Sir Thomas Wyatt whilst he was Henry VIII’s ambassador to the court of Francis I (1526), the Papal Court (1527) and to the Imperial Court of Charles V (1537-39), amongst other quasi-diplomatic roles, such as his position as Marshal of Calais (1528-30). These translations are revealed as having a particular political valence which reflects back not only on the political machinations of Wyatt’s ambassadorial experience, but also on the language of diplomatic correspondence and the guarded practices of discursive diplomatic exchange.

Dr Rossiter has recently co-edited Authority and Diplomacy from Dante to Shakespeare with Dr Jason Powell (Ashgate, 2013), which examines the continuities and ruptures between late medieval and early modern diplomatic practices and the persistent duality of the roles of author and diplomat in this period. Dr Rossiter has published more generally on Chaucer and the tre corone, on the poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt, and on the courtly lyrics of John Lydgate, and co-edited the 2010 collection Literature and Ethics: from the Dark Knight to the Green Knight.

Dr Alexander Samson

University College, London

Alexander Samson researches intercultural interaction between England and Spain in the early modern period. Building on a one-year postdoctoral project at the University of St Andrews that led to the creation of the Spanish-English Translations Database 1500 – 1640 (,  he edited a book on the failed dynastic marriage between the Habsburgs and Stuarts, The Spanish Match: Prince Charles’s Journey to Madrid, 1623 (Ashgate, 2006). His forthcoming book on the marriage of Philip II and Mary Tudor, also considers in depth the diplomatic, political and cultural exchanges between English and Spanish courtiers during their two year stay in London at various points between 1554 and 1557, analysing everything from furnishings and music to maps and theological texts. His next project is a book-length study of how Spain’s literature, culture and history were disseminated in England across this period, a story in which diplomats and ambassadors played a prominent role as translators and intelligencers. From ambassadorial secretaries like James Mabbe, the foremost translator of Spanish prose fiction (The Spanish Bawd, The Rogue and Exemplarie Novells), to John Digby, Sir Charles Cornwallis and Sir Walter Aston in the 1630s, whose recusant relations’ writing displayed their profound engagement with Spanish and international European Catholic culture, undermining their categorization as a provincial coterie, all of these figures crossed boundaries and borders, tracing and transgressing the limits of national and religious identities, translating and transforming their experiences for different audiences.

Dr Christopher Warren

Carnegie Mellon

As a literary historian, Chris is primarily interested in how early modern literary texts helped create and legislate intercultural spaces that would come to be known as “international.” In his first book, Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680 (OUP, 2015)he argues that early modern literary genres such as epic, tragedy, and comedy performed the critical work of rationalizing controversial or unprecedented global events, each in different ways, thereby aiding the rise of distinct and often contradictory topoi in international law, including the laws of war, diplomatic immunity, trade law, international legal personality, and human rights.  One way to characterize the argument is that international legal controversies become occasions for writers like Sidney, Shakespeare, Hobbes, Grotius, and Milton to employ narrative frames as quasi-diplomatic agents.

For his next book project, Chris is moving from international law’s narrative and generic histories toward a history of early modern cultural diplomacy that’s at once archive-oriented and sensitive to what Bruno Latour and other actor-network theorists have called “political ecology.”  Tentatively called Shakespeare’s Ambassadors: Texts, Performance, and Diplomacy in the Early Modern World, the book joins archival research with Actor-Network theory to study books, plays, scripts, and networks in early modern diplomacy.  Adapting Latour’s Actor-Network theory to early modern cultural diplomacy, I aim to suggest, can help us emphasize the significance of material intermediaries as early modern polities attempted to transform a “war of worlds” into “a common world.”  Treating human diplomats in the wider material context of scripts, playbooks, letters, gestures and other early modern intermediaries, meanwhile, puts pressure on the distinction between human and non-human agencies, foregrounding the question of entities that do and do not garner diplomatic representation in the early modern cosmos.   Such work will also be supported with ongoing findings from a collaborative digital humanities project, developed with Daniel Shore, Ruth Ahnert, Michael Finegold, Sebastian Ahnert, and Cosma Shalizi, called Six Degrees of Francis Bacon: Reassembling the Early Modern Social Network (

Professor John Watkins

University of Minnesota

John Watkins is Distinguished McKnight University Professor of English at the University of Minnesota, where he holds affiliate positions in History, Medieval Studies and Italian Studies. He has written widely on medieval and early modern diplomacy, exchanges between England and the Mediterranean, early modern political culture, queenship and sovereignty, and the classical and medieval origins of the Renaissance. He is the author of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England: Literature, History, and Sovereignty (CUP, 2002), and The Specter of Dido: Spenser and Virgilian Epic (Yale UP, 1995) and co-author (with Carole Levin) of Shakespeare’s Foreign Worlds: National and Transnational Identities in the Elizabethan Age (Cornell UP, 2009). In 2008 he edited a special edition of essays on diplomacy for the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies and called for a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of diplomacy in the pre-modern era. John is currently completing a book on medieval and early modern interdynastic marital diplomacy.

Dr Edward Wilson-Lee

Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge

Edward Wilson-Lee is a Fellow in English at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. His research falls in the broad area of late-medieval and early modern literature and book history, and he has previously written on the political implications of printed recreational literature  –  chivalric romances, broadside ballads, and early ‘bestsellers’ – as well as on Shakespeare and the cultural and material contexts of translation. He is currently working on two diplomacy-related projects. The first of these extends previous work on the role played by literary translations in high-level diplomatic negotiations, situating Mary Sidney Herbert’s translations in the context of the Anglo-French rapprochement at the dawn of Henri IV’s reign. The second project, in collaboration with another member of the network (Jose Maria Perez Fernandez), looks at one of the first great print libraries, collected by Hernando Colón (natural son of the explorer Columbus). Much of the collection – which was unprecedented in scale, inclusivity, and organization – was collected by Colón during ambassadorial travel or through diplomatic contacts made during his repeated book-buying voyages across Europe. Colón also aspired for the library to be a key tool in the construction of Charles V’s Universal Empire, serving as the nerve centre through which the Republic of Letters could be harnessed to political ends.

Guest Speakers

rebekahDr Rebekah Clements

University of Durham

Rebekah Clements is a Lecturer at the University of Durham. Previously she was a Research Fellow in East Asian Studies at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and a Research Associate at the Cambridge University Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.  She is a specialist in pre-modern Japanese languages and culture, with a focus on the history and literature of the Heian (794-1185) and early modern (1600-1868) periods. Rebekah’s monograph – A Cultural History of Translation in Early Modern Japan (Cambridge University Press, 2015) – considers the Japanese translation of classical Heian, classical Chinese, and European texts. The first scholar to adopt a cultural historical approach that considers the big picture “who” “what” and “why” of translation into Japanese in the early modern period, Rebekah argues that the explosion of vernacular translations from Chinese and older, classical forms of Japanese was an indicator of changing literacy and modes of access to formerly elite texts for scholars and less-educated readers alike.  Her work also reveals the importance of translation of Western knowledge in the interactions between Japanese governing powers and the outside world, and continues to challenge the notion of Japanese “isolation.”  You can hear Rebekah discuss some of these issues in an edition of the BBC4 radio program “In Our Time”.

Fiona McConnellDr Fiona McConnell

St Catherine’s College, Oxford

Fiona McConnell is an Associate Professor in Human Geography and Tutorial Fellow at St Catherine’s College. Prior to this she was a lecturer in human geography at Newcastle University and has also held a Junior Research fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge. Fiona has a BA in Geography from the University of Cambridge and PhD in Geography from Queen Mary, University of London. As a political geographer Fiona is interested in how communities officially excluded from formal state politics are nevertheless engaging with aspects of statecraft, and in using such seemingly anomalous cases as a lens to critically examine the ‘norms’ of governance. A significant part of her research to date has focused on the political structures and practices of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile based in India. She has ongoing research projects on: geographies of work and social mobility in India’s post-liberal economy; constructions and contestations of political legitimacy; and cultures of diplomacy and the diplomatic practices of unrecognised polities. Her work on diplomacy has included co-organising an AHRC funded research network on ‘translating diplomatic cultures‘ with Jason Dittmer (UCL) and ongoing work on the diplomatic practices of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), a membership organisation of political communities not adequately represented at major international for a.

GuidoDr Guido van Meersbergen

European University Institute, Florence

Guido van Meersbergen is a Max Weber Fellow (2015-2016) at the EUI. His research interests lie in the field of European overseas expansion and global interactions in the early modern period, with particular attention to the theme of cross-cultural diplomacy. In his PhD-thesis (UCL, 2014) he explores the approaches to cross-cultural contact of Dutch and English East India Company (VOC and EIC) agents in seventeenth-century South Asia. Focusing on interactions in the intersecting spheres of commerce, diplomacy, and colonial governance, his work argues that ethnological notions and cultural stereotypes were crucial in shaping the ways in which European Company agents understood and acted towards the Asian people they encountered. He plans his next project to be a comparative study of European diplomatic agents in early modern India, focusing on the formal and informal approaches they employed at regional and central courts, their representational and gift-giving strategies, and the cultural practices they adopted from their host culture. Since 2013 Guido has been a Council Member of the Hakluyt Society.

jane Newman Professor Jane O. Newman                                      

University of California, Irvine

Jane O. Newman is Professor of Comparative Literature and European Languages and Studies at UC Irvine (USA), where she teaches Renaissance and Early Modern Comparative Studies. She is currently Chair of the Department of European Languages and Studies, an interdisciplinary department of comparative Europeanists. Newman is also a founding member of the UC Irvine Group for the Study of Early Cultures. Her first two books, Pastoral Conventions (Hopkins, 1990) and The Intervention of Philology (North Carolina, 2000), discuss the German 17th century; she has also published essays on 16th and 17th century English, German, and neo-Latin literature and culture and the disciplinary history of Renaissance and Baroque Studies. Newman’s third book, Benjamin’s Library: Modernity, Nation, and the Baroque, appeared in 2011, with Cornell University Press, and received Honorable Mention for the Modern Language Association (MLA) Scaglione Prize in Germanic Languages and Literatures in 2012. Her new translation of a collection of Erich Auerbach’s essays, Time, History, and Literature. Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach, appeared with Princeton University Press in January, 2014. Newman has held Guggenheim and Humboldt fellowships, and was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Berlin, Germany, in 2010-11. She is currently working on two projects, “Early/Modern: Erich Auerbach between Theology and History” and “After Westphalia: Pre- and Early Modern Lessons for a Post-Modern Age.”

OsborneDr Toby Osborne

University of Durham

Toby Osborne is interested in early-modern court history and diplomatic culture. He has worked on the Piedmontese diplomat, abbé and art patron, Alessandro Scaglia (1592-1641), known throughout the courts of Europe, from London to Rome, during the period of the Thirty Years’ War. His work has a strong international character, with a focus on Catholic Europe and the Italian peninsula. He is currently working on several strands of research, including the papal court, the competition for status and prestige amongst the dynastic powers of Italy, the subject of exile in the seventeenth century, and international diplomatic culture. He would welcome interest in early-modern court and elite history, covering Britain and Europe. He is PI on an AHRC funded international research network ‘Translating Cultures: The Languages of Diplomacy between the Early Modern and Modern Worlds‘. 

Christine VogelDr Christine Vogel

University of Vechta

Christine Vogel is Juniorprofessor at the University of Vechta (Germany). She has worked on European print cultures and the representation of religious violence in the age of Enlightenment. Her dissertation analyses the dissolution of the Jesuit order in the 18th century as a European media event, and has been published as Der Untergang der Gesellschaft Jesu als europäisches Medienereignis. Publizistische Debatten im Spannungsfeld von Aufklärung und Gegenaufklärung (Zabern 2006). Her current research focuses on European diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire in the early modern period. She tries to understand diplomacy as a cross-cultural practice and is particularly interested in the performance of French diplomats at the Ottoman sultan’s court in the late 17th century. She has published articles and book chapters on the topic and has edited, with Peter Burschel, Die Audienz. Ritualisierter Kulturkontakt in der Frühen Neuzeit (Böhlau 2014).