Diplomacy and Culture in the Early Modern World

[Please note that registration for our conference has now closed. The conference was held at TORCH in Oxford from 31 July to 2 August.]

The conference builds upon the recent ‘cultural turn’ in diplomatic studies that has seen more innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to a subject that was once viewed in heavily bureaucratic and constitutional terms. Scholars are increasingly appreciating the importance of ritual and other forms of symbolic communication in diplomatic practices and the role of diplomatic processes in cultural exchanges. Diplomats were important political brokers whose actions could have profound implications for international relations, but they played an equally important role in the transfer and adaptation of cultural ideas and artefacts through their activities as cultural agents, authors and brokers. The profound impact of diplomacy on culture in this period is, moreover, seen in the increasing prominence of representations of diplomacy in literature and a range of other media. The aim of this conference is to further our understanding of early modern diplomatic practices, of the dynamics of diplomatic exchanges both within and without Europe, and how diplomatic ideas and practices interacted with other cultural and political processes.

The keynote lecture ‘Diplomacy as a Social Practice: Recent Research Perspectives’ will be delivered by Professor Christian Windler (Bern). The conference will feature two panel discussions: one on the impact of the ‘diplomatic moment’ and another on future directions in diplomatic studies. Papers and panels will address aspects of diplomatic culture in Europe and the wider world including gender, gifts, material culture, the dissemination of information, archival practices, international law, cross cultural exchanges and translation, as well as the impact of diplomacy on literary writing and representations of diplomacy. The conference programme is now available as are the paper abstracts.

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We are grateful to TORCH for sponsoring this event. Thanks to the generosity of the Society for Renaissance Studies we have been able to provide a number of travel bursaries to doctoral students.