Diplomats as consumers and producers of literary texts have a long history. More recent, however, is a literary understanding of dress, ceremony, gifts, and other trappings of the diplomatic profession as essential components of representation – of power, of the state, and of diplomats themselves.
The discipline of international relations (ir) is not known for the prominence given to diplomatic history. Yet, recent trends in behavioral science have resulted in the emergence of a renewed focus on diplomacy in ir, in particular with regard to the emotions and psychology of international actors.
Space and place matter to diplomacy, yet surprisingly little analytical attention has been paid to geographical approaches and questions. This intervention sketches out the potentially productive lens that a geographical approach to diplomacy can offer in terms of diversifying conceptual framings, widening the empirical lens so that a broader range of practices, actors and objects come into view when we consider “diplomacy,” and embracing an open and integrative approach to interdisciplinary thinking about diplomacy.
A survey of recent writings in early-modern, largely European, diplomatic history reveals important shifts in the direction of the cultural and sociological emphasis favored by the proponents of New Diplomatic History. In turn, the shifts have brought mainstream diplomatic historians closer to other subfields – gender and class history, in particular. The trend is likely to continue.
The Bandung Conference of 1955 illustrates several important points about the exercise of contemporary diplomacy, with its careful mixing of cultural symbolism, Cold War politics, anti-colonialism, and the cultivation of “sociability” among the diplomats and leaders present. Among those points is the difficulty in drawing a distinction between the informal and formal aspects of social engineering in this instance, with everyone – especially diplomatic wives – playing significant roles.
Early modernists have been among the most early and active contributors to the establishment of New Diplomatic History. How has their work affected that on other periods, and how might it continue to do so? How have such extensive histories written during the past decade reframed a wider understanding of the European state system that did so much to establish modern diplomacy? And how might such an understanding be relevant to modern, even contemporary, historians, as well as to other scholars?
A Journal of Diplomacy and Society
Editor-in-Chief Giles Scott-Smith and Kenneth Weisbrode
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Diplomatica: A Journal of Diplomacy and Society addresses the broad range of work being done across the social sciences and the humanities that takes diplomacy as its focus of investigation. The journal explores and investigates diplomacy as an extension of social interests, forces, and environments. It is multidisciplinary, providing a space to unite perspectives from diplomatic history (humanities) and diplomatic studies (social sciences) in particular. It is interdisciplinary, expanding beyond its disciplinary foundation of history to enrich historical perspectives with innovative analyses from other disciplines. It seeks to broaden the study of diplomacy temporally, contributing to a re-appraisal of diplomacy across the modern and early modern eras and beyond, in this way bridging temporal divides and introducing debate between scholars of different periodizations. It is determinedly global in orientation, providing a space for inter-regional comparisons. The journal is published in cooperation with the New Diplomatic History (NDH) Network.
Diplomatica seeks to merge diplomatic history and diplomatic studies through three main approaches:
1. Habitat: Exploring the multiple identities, behaviors, rituals, and belief systems of diplomats and how they change according to time, place, and space;
2. Actors: Challenging the centrality of the nation-state as the principal actor framing an understanding of what diplomacy is by focusing equally on the role of non-state actors;
3. Disciplines: Introducing appropriate methodologies from the social sciences, such as prosopography, network analysis, gender studies, economics, geography, and communications, in order to broaden the analytical study of diplomatic habitats, actors, and interactions through time.
Broadly speaking, Diplomatica covers the study of diplomatic process more than the study of diplomatic product. It questions, investigates, and explores all aspects of the diplomatic world, from interactions between the professionally diplomatic and the non-diplomatic to the arrangement of summits and banquets, the architecture of ministries and residences, and the identities, roles, practices, and networks of envoys, policy entrepreneurs, salonnières, and all other private and quasi-private individuals who affect the course of diplomacy.
The journal welcomes submissions dealing with any period and locale from across the humanities and social sciences. Submissions should be standard article length (approximately 8,000 words including footnotes) and written for a general, scholarly audience.
For editorial queries and proposals, please contact the Diplomatica Editorial Office.
For book review queries, please contact the book review editor, Haakon Ikonomou.
The Mattingly Award
Brill, the editorial board of Diplomatica, and the New Diplomatic History Network are pleased to provide an annual award of €500 for excellence and originality in an essay on diplomatic society or culture, broadly defined. The Mattingly Award is named for the American historian, Garrett Mattingly (1900-62), an esteemed writer, scholar, and professor at Columbia University. Best known for his history of the Spanish Armada (1959), which won the Pulitzer Prize, and his biography of Catherine of Aragon (1941), Mattingly pioneered the study of diplomatic institutions, practices, norms, and personalities, notably in his classic history of early modern Europe, Renaissance Diplomacy (1955).
NOW AVAILABLE - Online submission: Articles for publication in Diplomatica can be submitted online through Editorial Manager, please click here.