New “Splendid Encounters” Call for Papers

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Announcements · Comments ( 0 )

Splendid Encounters VI: Correspondence and Information Exchange in Diplomacy (1300-1750)

Nova University of Lisbon

28th — 30th September 2017

Splendid Encounters 6 is one of a series of international and interdisciplinary conferences which aim to bring together scholars from the broadest range of perspectives to consider diplomacy and diplomatic activities in the late medieval and early modern period. After successful meetings in Warsaw, Bath, Florence, Budapest and Prague, we wish to invite you to join us for another event, hosted by Nova University of Lisbon.

Collecting and transferring information is a major aim of diplomacy, and one not confined to diplomats strictly speaking. People of different ranks and functions were still connected to diplomatic activity — ambassadors, nuncios, chargés d’affaires, secretaries and agents, members of ambassadorial households, consuls and merchants, and even the aides employed as middlemen or translators.

Just as varied as the agents were the methods used to obtain access to the latest news and information useful to ruler or country. As diplomatic networks grew bigger and bigger in size and reach in this period, so did the need to find reliable sources of news and to develop ways to efficiently deliver them.

These are some of the issues that will be addressed at the upcoming conference, Splendid Encounters VI. The conference will focus on the role of news and information transmitting in diplomatic practices within and outside Europe between the fourteenth and the eighteenth centuries. In assessing the role of diplomats and networks in such exchanges, this edition of Splendid Encounters also breaks away from traditional chronological and geographical approaches.

Please email by 15 March 2017 to se6.lisbon@gmail.com your abstract for either 20‒minute individual papers or 90‒minute sessions (to comprise a panel, roundtable, project presentation, etc.). We especially encourage proposals dealing with:

Diplomatic correspondence: evolution, importance, cyphers, etc.
Diplomats and diplomacy as a subject of news
The languages, forms and performance of (written and oral) communication
East–West/North–South encounters
Channels of contact; Europe, Africa, Asia, America
Diplomatic communication across cultures and the culture(s) of diplomatic communication
Practices of information exchange in empire, states, regions
The personnel of news networks
Continuity and change in the long run: from ‘medieval’ to ‘early modern’

Applicants will be notified of acceptance by 15th April.
Contact Info:

Dr Anna Kalinowska: se6.lisbon@gmail.com

Dr Tiago Viúla de Faria: tiago.faria@fcsh.unl.pt
Contact Email:
se6.lisbon@gmail.com
URL:
http://www.premoderndiplomats.org/splendid-encounters-vi.html

Human Rights Conference, Leiden

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Announcements · Comments ( 0 )

From Steffen Rimner:

‘Calendar Propaganda’ of Human Rights? Historical Perspectives on the United Nations’ Global Observances

Keynote speakers: Professor Thomas G. Weiss (The Graduate Center, CUNY), Professor Marie-Benedicte Dembour (University of Brighton), Dr. Steven L. B. Jensen (The Danish Institute for Human Rights)

Leiden University, The Hague Campus, 14-16 June, 2017

http://www.un.org/en/sections/observances/united-nations-observances/

What does the UN seek to achieve though global observance days, weeks and years and how have these initiatives impacted the role of the organization in forwarding the agenda of human rights? This conference seeks to determine what the UN has sought to accomplish through observances, how do these initiatives bring stakeholders together and are they successful in establishing benchmarks and stimulating global agendas on a range of rights and development issues.

Since 1959, starting with the World Refugee Year, the United Nations have observed international days, weeks, years and decades which have been dedicated to a variety of causes. Among them have been women, disabled people, anti-apartheid, drinking water and more recently the Kyrgyz statehood, the gorilla, microcredit and quinoa. Typically, these events have sought to promote awareness of and encourage (inter)national action on fundamental issues related to human rights, social justice, cultural heritage and environmental problems. In addition to the UN itself, its specialized agencies, such as UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, ILO and UNHCR were also involved in the activities. Numerous NGOs, churches, multinational corporations and a myriad of international organizations, interest groups, celebrities and activists made a contribution. Moreover, member states were also expected to become engaged, and they often formed national and regional committees for that purpose. Over time these observances have become an integral part of the UN’s institutional identity, a pillar of its advocacy of human rights and an indication of how the organization tries to connect the role of the various stakeholders with public opinion.

Despite their pivotal role in conveying UN’s mission, the dynamics and impact international days, weeks, years and decades have not been subject of a more comprehensive historical study. The conference seeks to embrace the multifarious potentials that a longue durée study of this subject can offer. For one thing, the observances provide a useful new lens through which to (critically) revisit the UN’s major agendas and dilemmas, interactions with various international bodies and member states, its successes and failures, be they for example peacekeeping, combating discrimination or the eradication of poverty. How did these days, weeks, years and decades contribute (or not) to internationalizing and propagating the UN’s agenda? Did the accompanying non-binding resolutions instigate the development of new paradigms/agendas or did they merely create unrealistic expectations?

The study of UN’s observances has the potential to contribute to a variety of fields of historical enquiry, including the history of human rights, the evolution of internationalisms and intellectual history. We encourage submissions from scholars in these areas addressing questions such as:

What has been the impact of alternative political and social rights claims on our contemporary understanding of individual human rights?
What do these agreements on observances reflect about developments and ideological confrontations during the Cold War, the evolution of decolonization, the emergence of new social movements, the financial crisis in the 1970s and the rise of neoliberalism?
How were the different political and ideological international and transnational groupings represented in these activities? Did observances confirm ideological divides or did they succeed in promoting solidarity?
In what ways was the Global South involved and how did the humanitarian and development agendas of the observances shape the ‘politics of vulnerable lives’?
What shifts can be observed in the uses of concepts like dignity, inequality, solidarity and civil society and what kind of ‘politics of time’ was implicated in the ‘year after year, day after day’ patterns? In a more general sense, how were the observances informed by notions of global time, coevalness and development?

Submission of abstracts

Applications are invited from scholars at any stage of their careers representing diverse disciplinary backgrounds and various geographical regions. Please send an abstract of around 500 words and a short CV to the following email address: rethinkingdisability@hum.leidenuniv.nl by 5 February, 2017. Questions to the organizers can be sent using the same address. Authors will be notified regarding the acceptance of their contribution by 28 February. Invited participants will be expected to submit a short draft version of their paper two weeks prior to the event, which will be circulated among all other participants. We aim to publish the revised versions of a selection of these papers in an edited volume.
Other practicalities

Selected participants will be provided with catering, including the conference dinner, but will be expected to cover their travel and accommodation expenses. However, some funds can be made available on a competitive basis to contribute to the travel and accommodation expenses of a certain number of speakers, an opportunity particularly intended for junior scholars and for those without research funds from their own institutions. Please indicate when submitting the abstract if you would like to be considered for subsidy. Submissions from applicants with special needs (e.g. disabled access, childcare) are welcome and the organizers will do their best to accommodate such requests.
Organization

The workshop is initiated and hosted by the research team of the ERC project Rethinking Disability: the Global Impact of the International Year of Disabled Persons (1981) in Historical Perspective, based in the Institute for History at Leiden University.
Contact Info:

Paul van Trigt
Institute for History
Johan Huizinga Building
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 0.12
Contact Email:
p.w.van.trigt@hum.leidenuniv.nl

New Journal about Early Modern Diplomacy

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Announcements · Comments ( 0 )

Legatio: The Journal for Renaissance and Early Modern Diplomatic Studies is a new international online open source journal to be published annually and hosted by the Polish Academy of Sciences’ Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History, Warsaw. Its mission is to provide a forum to advance our understanding of the role of diplomats and the function of diplomacy in the Renaissance and early modern world, taking into account the traditional histories of politics, the arts, economics, law, and society, along with emerging histories of gender, exchange, identity, and communication. As such, this journal seeks to present, disseminate, and promote research of the highest quality that provokes debate and challenges assumptions in an area of historical scholarship too long overlooked.

For decades, Renaissance and early modern diplomatic history has languished as a stagnant field of academic research. Aloof to wider currents and trends in scholarship, the study of diplomatic history was in fast decline. In recent decennia, this trend has dramatically reversed and increasing numbers of scholars have answered recent calls for a new approach to diplomatic history. Various routes of historical enquiry are now being explored. Apart from understanding political, social, economic, commercial and cultural aspects of early modern diplomacy, historians are now adopting new methods and ideas. Today’s scholarship broadens the field of inquiry by amalgamating cultural, semiotic, and anthropological approaches, whilst continuing to undertake fresh archival research and revise established beliefs.

The journal invites contributions from suitably qualified scholars in two categories: articles and critical editions of primary sources. The journal will also publish book and exhibition reviews, conference reports, and notices relevant to the field of study. Any article and critical edition will be subject to a double-blind peer review before publication. Authors will be informed about the acceptance or rejection of the text within two months. The journal will be published online, with an e-ISSN, with the first issue expected to be published in 2017.

Guidelines on the submission requirements and editorial style sheet as well as additional information on the journal can be found at: http://legatio-ihpan.edu.pl/index.php/en/

Contact Email:
legatio@ihpan.edu.pl
URL:

http://legatio-ihpan.edu.pl/index.php/en/

Our Second Conference

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Announcements, New Diplomatic History Blog · Comments ( 0 )

From Giles Scott-Smith:

Borders, Networks, and Organisations through the 20th Century
2nd Conference of the New Diplomatic History Network
Centre for Modern European Studies, University of Copenhagen
24-26 November 2016

In November the NDH network took its conference to Copenhagen for the follow-up to the inaugural gathering of the network at Leiden university in 2013. Once again, the three-day event demonstrated how rich and varied the current state of the field really is. Framed around three top-level keynotes, the conference consisted of 14 panels and a roundtable on social media and diplomacy. Speakers came from universities in nineteen different countries, and, encouragingly, the appeal of the network’s theme was confirmed with the attendance of many younger scholars and PhD students.

sam_0413
From left, Noe Cornago, Iver Neumann, and Geoff Pigman.

The keynotes set the tone for the three days, and I will concentrate on them for this report. Iver Neumann (LSE) provided the perfect start on Thursday with a perspective on the evolution of diplomacy. Noting that evolution is often seen as a loaded term of overweighted significance, Neumann argued for applying the notion of ‘tipping points’ (a term used in sociology since 1958 but which has the most application in climatology) and the identification of ‘punctuated equilibria’ (Eldridge & Gould, 1972) to designate moments when behaviour changes in fundamental ways. Placing this on to the development of diplomacy reveals key moments such as the development of complex polities, the arrival of permanent representation (not Renaissance Italy but the official contacts between Eastern and Western churches from 292AD onwards), the emergence of diplomatic systems, and institutionalism (forms of multilateral governance). The lecture generated some good debate, notably on the fact that evolution has not progressed linearly at the same speed but has seen many off-shoots and dead-ends (can we also see this in diplomatic practies?), and over the wider influence of technology as a decisive tipping point. Central to Neumann’s overview is the idea of progressive change, since tipping point in a climatological sense indicates a minor alteration that leads to an irreversible change in the system as a whole. Does diplomacy really evolve in those terms?

sam_0420
Geoff Pigman giving the keynote.

On the Friday Geoff Pigman’s keynote, entitled ‘Go Big or Go Home’: The Challenge for Trade Diplomacy in Europe and Worldwide, provided a perfect follow-up to the evolutionary opening of Neumann. Taking the starting point to be trade-as-diplomacy, Pigman traced a series of transformations as trade interactions adapted to and in turn altered the international environment in which it was operating. This took us through the industrial revolution (as the moment when the need for trade, due to the excess of goods, exceeded mere trade for diplomacy) and the first trade liberalization treaties (dating back to the Anglo-French Cobden-Chevalier Treaty of 1860). Institutionalisation followed, with the 1902 Brussels Sugar Convention (that opposed the use of export subsidies) as a key marker, leading to the creation of GATT after WWII and the progressive locking-in of gains from free trade over time, and for an expanding community of participating nations. This ceded to the era of judicialisation, exemplified by the WTO’s dispute settlement system and the application of trade laws above the jurisdiction of the nation-state. Yet this era has been relatively short-lived, since the collapse of the WTO’s Doha Round in 2015 has signaled a new shift towards the arranging of trade deals outside of the major sites of post-WWII multilateralism. The Silk Road project led by China is a perfect example, with trade as diplomacy being focused along a specific vector, in so doing reviving the old trade routes of the past. This adds an interesting counter-point to the evolutionary argument, since it points towards diplomatic change as being circular rather than linear (and this also being highlighted through non-Western initiatives).

On the Saturday Noe Cornago of the University of the Basque Country rounded off the event with an intriguing investigation into the ‘diplomatic incident’. These happen everywhere, and while they can represent different levels of seriousness, they all indicate some form of contravening diplomatic practice and protocol. The only title devoted solely to this issue is Bely’s L’Incident diplomatique (2010), which nevertheless begins with the deflationary comment that ‘An incident is by definition not so important.’ Diplomatic incidents can often be seen as trivial, anecdotal, and semi-humourous, but at the same time they may well represent critical events that could have led to war. Their ultimate meaning therefore remains inconclusive, and while they may seem like fleeting moments, they hold a long history as a distinct category. Political Science has developed various models for describing the sequence of events that take place during a crisis, and this approach has fed into Event History Analysis. But this approach only treats diplomatic incidents as international crises, leaving aside the apparently more minor triviata that nevertheless still can be accorded that title.

It is the role of the historian to create a narrative of what happened in ’the past’, and diplomatic incidents can, after some examination, be identified as having collectively shaped the diplomatic system itself. International law recognises diplomatic incidents as moments of transgression of norms and formal rules that have been accumulated over time, such as concerning rank, protocol, reciprocity, immunity, and so on. Cornago then went on to provide a series of examples for when such transgressions occurred, ranging from Ben Franklin refusing to wear ambassadorial uniform when in Paris, to de Gaulle’s ebullient but misjudged ‘Vive le Quebec Libre’ from 1967. Other incidents indicate more serious cleavages in the intricate patterns of diplomatic norms, such as the repeated discrimination against African diplomats and statesmen in the segregated US South during the 1950s and 1960s, and the storming and occupation of embassy sites by mobs, most notably the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and the ensuing holding of hostages. In this way incidents force the diplomatic system to respond ‘in order to ensure its own sustainability. As Bely put it, ‘incidents make transparent the relationship between the diplomat (in closed universe) and the society in which they operate’.

Cornago’s keynote was the perfect closure to the conference, because it was not a closure at all – instead, quite deliberately, it raised essential questions concerning the ways in which diplomatic practice (and diplomatic studies in turn) maintain their ‘shape’ while faced with constant tensions and threats to their established behaviour. This summed up the conference well – diplomatic studies as a field is facing an excess of approaches and perspectives, fuelled by innovative cross-disciplinary studies from the humanities and the social sciences. The New Diplomatic History network represents one of the few sites where these kinds of studies are encouraged to interact and exchange ideas. As a ‘state of the field’ event, Copenhagen therefore gave every reason for optimism. What needs to be considered next – as I mentioned at the opening of the event – is the extent to which the NDH network itself needs to define what it is about. Perhaps the network itself has reached a tipping point and should evolve in new directions. With this important thought in mind, I would like once again to thank my Danish colleagues for making the Copenhagen event possible: Karen Gram-Skjoldager, Dino Knudsen, Haakon Ikonomou, and Marianne Rostgaard.

New Project at Aarhus

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Announcements, New Diplomatic History Blog · Comments ( 0 )

From Haakon Ikonomou:

The Department of History and Classical Studies at Aarhus University has begun a new project called The Invention of International Bureaucracy. This is a summary of the project:

“Over the last 100 years, the international political scene has become increasingly organized. More than 5000 international organisations now regulate global and regional political, economic and technical affairs. As a consequence international bureaucracy, i.e. international executive bodies that function autonomously from nation states and deal with international affairs, has become an important and increasingly contested feature of world politics.

Even so, the history of these non-elected executive bodies is underresearched. This project aims to shine a light on the roots of international bureaucracy and its particular institutional and socio-cultural characteristics by exploring the principles, practices and formative effects of the League of Nations Secretariat. With theoretical inspiration from political sociology and based on extensive multiarchival research, the project will explore the institutional norms and practices of the League Secretariat and investigate its exchanges and connections with national diplomatic and bureaucratic structures, internationalist networks and institutions and subsequent international bureaucracies of the 20th century.”

The project also contains a lively blog, the first three entries of which may be seen here:

Connecting the micro and macro of the League Secretariat by Torsten Kahlert

Between Internationalism and National Socialism – Helmer Rosting in the League of Nations Secretariat by Karen Gram-Skjoldager

L’esprit de Genève 2016 – Or: My First Meeting with the Archives of the United Nations Office of Geneva by Emil Eiby Seidenfaden

CFP: UK International

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Announcements · Comments ( 0 )

from Helen McCarthy:

Call for papers: Citizens of the World? The Place of the International in British Politics since 1918

Early career researchers are invited to submit papers for a symposium reassessing how debates about Britain’s relationship with the world have shaped and been shaped by domestic politics over the past century.

Following the success of the symposium, Rethinking Contemporary British Political History, held in September 2015, the School of History at Queen Mary University of London and the Mile End Institute are hosting a second event which, in a similar spirit, aims to bring early-career researchers together with more established scholars to reflect on current developments and future directions in the field.

The symposium, Citizens of the World? The Place of the International in British Politics since 1918 will take place on 16th and 17th March 2017 at Queen Mary University of London’s Mile End campus.

Whilst the 2015 symposium showcased new research on the recent history of British government and politics broadly defined, this event adopts a more thematic focus on the place of the international in British politics since 1918.

In the wake of the momentous popular vote in June 2016 to leave the European Union, a reassessment of how shifting debates about Britain’s relationship with the world have shaped and been shaped by domestic politics over the past century has never seemed more timely. The symposium seeks to frame and answer a range of questions which place this relationship in historical perspective:

How have understandings of Britain’s international responsibilities, whether through the governance of a global empire or membership of supra-national institutions, changed in the course of the twentieth century?

What role have different political actors, from parties and campaigning NGOs to intellectuals and bureaucrats, played in recasting these understandings?

When have ideas about international government, international cooperation or international community acquired electoral significance or inspired popular mobilisations, both supportive and oppositional?

How have concepts of British national identity evolved in dialogue with concepts of the international? Have the British felt themselves to be citizens of the world as well as of the nation-state and of the empire and commonwealth?

How should we re-evaluate these histories of the international in the light of the Brexit vote, and how should we interpret the Brexit vote in the light of these histories?

This event forms part of a larger series organised by Dr Helen McCarthy on the theme of Rethinking Contemporary British Political History, generously funded by the British Academy under its Rising Star Engagement Award scheme.

Around twenty early-career researchers will be joined by a group of more established scholars for intensive discussion and reflection. Confirmed participants include: Saul Dubow (Cambridge), James Ellison (QMUL), Matthew Hilton (QMUL), Peter Mandler (Cambridge), Susan Pedersen (Columbia), Glenda Sluga (Sydney) and Jessica Reinisch (Birkbeck).

Expressions of interest to present papers are invited from early-career researchers, defined as those within 10 years of award of PhD, although advanced doctoral students are also welcome to apply. Papers should address one or more of the questions set out above, and might cover the following themes:

• Internationalist activism and thought
• Humanitarianism, aid and international development
• Ideas about empire, race and international order
• Debates over nationality, asylum and immigration
• British membership of and policy towards international organisations
• The politics of patriotism, national identity and citizenship
• Ideas about the economy and ‘globalization’
• Debates about security, peace and international terrorism

Papers which adopt novel methodologies or interdisciplinary perspectives, or which view British politics in a transnational or comparative frame, are especially welcome.

To facilitate extended discussion, successful applicants will be asked to pre-circulate their papers (3,500-5,000 words) and summarise key points for no longer than 10-12 minutes during the panel sessions. Commentary will be provided for each panel by one of the more established scholars in attendance. There will be an informal social event on the evening of March 16th to which all participants are warmly invited.

Travel costs will be covered for all UK-based early-career participants traveling from outside London, and on-campus accommodation is available for participants who require it. In the interests of fostering stronger links between scholars in the UK, Europe and beyond, eight travel bursaries each to the value of up to £250 are available for participants based outside the UK.

Please send your CV and paper abstract (300-500 words) to Helen McCarthy at h.mccarthy@qmul.ac.uk by 5pm Monday 28th November, and please indicate whether you wish to be considered for one of the overseas travel bursaries.

Successful candidates will be notified by Monday 12th December. Papers should be submitted for pre-circulation by 24th February 2017.

Medieval and Early Modern Diplomacy Conference, Leiden

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Announcements · Comments ( 0 )

from Steffen Rimner:

Beyond Ambassadors: Missionaries, Consuls and Spies in Premodern Diplomacy
Date 29 September 2016 – 30 September 2016
Location
Johan Huizinga Building
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room Conference Room (2.60)

How should diplomatic historians interpret the role of missionaries, consuls, spies and intelligence agents in international affairs in medieval and early modern times?

Due to the overarching shadow of ‘the state’ as the official representative of all things diplomatic, the study of other actors in international relations than state diplomats has been neglected by traditional Diplomatic History. In the Middle Ages and the early modern period, taken together as premodern times, international relations were no monopoly of the state or the sovereign. Many individuals, groups and administrative units and interest groups maintained contacts independently of states and princes and were actors in a wide field of transnational rather than international character. Missionaries of various Roman Catholic orders or of different Christian denominations were working according to their own policies, independently from princes, or in cooperation with them. Consuls representing commercial interest groups supported the interests of merchants and traders. Spies were infiltrating the courts of Europe to secretly gather information. These groups were oriented nationally but not infrequently also transnationally. They acted increasingly as quasi-officials of sovereigns and states to whom they provided services and by whom their mediating position was sanctioned. An expanding multitude of individuals of various alloy was engaged in collecting political information which they offered to sovereigns and others. They often operated on a temporary basis for one prince or client and then for another and were able to provide many types of information for which they drew on a network of international contacts.

This conference focuses on the question of how and why these people not formally tied to the state or a prince could occupy a position in international relations. This question is all the more urgent as the last few decades historical research – in the context of the so-called new diplomatic history – has shown that state diplomacy in premodern times has not been overpowering and all-determining for Europe’s international relations.

Programme Thursday 29th September 2016

Opening session Welcome and Keynote Speech
14.00: Registration and Welcome
14.15: Opening: Maurits Ebben and Louis Sicking
Chair: Louis Sicking
14.30 Keynote speech: Ambassadors and other actors in medieval and early modern diplomacy (John Watkins, University of Minnesota)

Session 1 Missionaries
15.00: Opening first session
Chair: Jeroen Duindam
Speakers:
15:10: Jacques Paviot (Université de Paris-Est Créteil)
Before Ambassadors: Missionnaries to the Mongol sovereigns (XIIIe siècle)
15.40: Felicia Rosu (Leiden University)
A New Promised Land: Jesuit politics in Transylvania, Muscovy, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1579-1619
16:10: Christian Windler (University of Bern)
Members of Religious Orders as Political Intermediaries in Safavid Iran
16.40: discussion and conclusions
17.00: drinks
Programme Friday 30th September 2016

Session 2 Consular Networks and Diplomacy: Commercial and State Agents
10.00: Coffee and tea
10.15: Opening second session
Chair: Peter Hoppenbrouwers
Speakers:
10.25: Louis Sicking (Leiden University)
‘Vitten’ and ‘Voogden': Space and Representation in Late Medieval Scania
10.55: Maurits Ebben (Leiden University)
‘Your High Mightinesses’ Most Humble Servants’ Consuls and Dutch foreign affairs, 1650-1700
11.25: Jörg Ulbert (Université de Bretagne Sud, Lorient)
Why were the French consuls of the Ancien Régime not under the responsibility of Foreign Affairs?
11.55: discussion and conclusions

Session 3 Spies and Intelligence Agents
14.00: Opening third session
Chair: Maurits Ebben
Speakers:
14.10: Bastian Walter-Bogedain (Bergische Universität Wuppertal)
Credible men, good friends and chatty women: the importance of espionage during the Burgundian Wars (1468-1477)
14.40: Nadine Akkerman (Leiden University)
Britain she-intelligencers, 1647-1667
15.10: Alain Hugon (Université de Caen)
Where were spies coming from and were they useful?
15.40: discussion and conclusions
16.00: Tea/Coffee
16.30: Concluding remarks (John Watkins, University of Minnesota) and discussion
17.00: Closure and drinks
Speakers

Akkerman, Nadine (Leiden University, NL)
Ebben, Maurits (Leiden University, NL)
Hugon, Alain (Université de Caen, F)
Paviot, Jacques (Université de Paris-Est Créteil, F)
Rosu, Felicia (Leiden University, NL)
Sicking, Louis (Leiden University, NL and VU University Amsterdam, NL)
Ulbert, Jörg (Université de Lorient, F)
Walter-Bogedain, Bastian (Universität Münster, D)
Watkins, John (University of Minnesota, USA)
Windler, Christian (University of Bern, CH)
Chairs

Duindam, Jeroen (Leiden University, NL)
Ebben, Maurits (Leiden University, NL)
Hoppenbrouwers, Peter (Leiden University, NL)
Sicking, Louis (Leiden University, NL and VU University Amsterdam, NL)
Organisation

Dr. M.A. Ebben (Leiden University, NL)
Prof. dr. L.H.J. Sicking (Leiden University, NL and VU University Amsterdam, NL)
Information

Dr. M.A. Ebben (m.a.ebben@hum.leidenuniv.nl)
Registration

Until September 26 2016 via: history@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Attendance

MA (Research) students
Dutch and international colleagues

CFP: Forging the American Century (Nijmegen)

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Announcements · Comments ( 0 )

from Jorrit van den Berk:

Call For Papers

Forging the American Century

World War II and the transformation of U.S. internationalism

Nijmegen, the Netherlands, October 27-28

The intersection of contemporary debates about the future of American power and recent developments in the field of diplomatic history compel us to reconsider the foundations and contours of the American Century.

“Forging the American Century”, seeks to combine the current concern for America’s changing role in the world with new and developing insights into the nature of international relations to revisit the origins of the American Century: World War II and its aftermath. The conference is not about the high diplomacy of the war, nor is it necessarily about the start of the Cold War. Instead, it will address the ways in which the World War and America’s rise to global power drove Americans in different fields, both inside and outside the sphere of formal diplomacy, to forge new connections with the world. We will also address the many ways in which people around the world responded to the new or changing American presence.

By invoking the term “American Century”, we do not intend to link up to Henry Luce’s original arguments. With its confusing mix of jingoism, democratic idealisms, free market enthusiasm, nationalism, and naiveté, Luce’s “American Century” has rarely been taken seriously as a blueprint for American internationalism. However, the concept of an “American Century” has recently made a comeback in discussions about the United States’ relative decline. Can the United States maintain its international economic position in the face of Chinese competition? Have the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq caused irreparable damage to its role as an international leader? Will rising powers, especially the much-discussed BRICS countries, challenge the liberal world order that the United States has built and sustained?

In a recent anthology that he described as a “dissenter’s guide to the American Century”, Andrew Bacevich argues that:

“the conditions that once lent plausibility to visions of an American Century [have] ceased to exist…Contemporary reality no longer accommodate[s] the notion of a single nation arrogating to itself the role of a Good Samaritan, especially a nation with dirty hands…The utility of Luce’s formulation as a description of the contemporary international order or as a guide to future U.S. policy has been exhausted.”

Others have been more optimistic, both about the nature of the American Century and its future. Joseph Nye defines it as “the extraordinary period of American preeminence in military, economic, and soft power resources that have made the United States central to the workings of the global balance of power, and to the provision of global public goods”. While the international environment will become more complicated in the future, he announces simply that “the American century is not over”.

The running debates over the future of American power make this an opportune moment to reconsider the foundations of U.S. internationalism, especially in the light of recent innovations in the field of diplomatic history. Over the past fifteen years, terms such as empire, soft power, and anti-Americanism have become commonplace in discussions of America’s role in the world. Foreign policy, power politics, and the work of statesmen and professional diplomats no longer dominate histories of U.S. foreign relations. Current scholarly interest in soft power, public diplomacy, and Americanization have opened the field to the study of culture. “New” diplomatic historians study the role of individuals, networks, musicians, athletes, transnational movements and a wide variety of other forms of “informal” diplomacy. A focus on American action has made room for the study of interaction: the ways in which peoples throughout the world have resisted, negotiated, or welcomed the American presence.

Disciplines and topics

We welcome scholars from all disciplinary and theoretical backgrounds to present fresh insights into the historical foundations of U.S. power and the international order it helped to create during and (immediately) after the Second World War. The following questions may be helpful in formulating contributions to this conference:

How did the War and its aftermath change the practice of diplomacy? How did diplomats develop new strategies to reach out to the world? How did they coopt private initiatives or vice versa?
How did individuals, companies, civic groups, and other “informal” diplomats shape America’s global presence during and after the war?
How did the United States shape the international environment through its support for new diplomatic, financial, and economic institutions? To what extent did those new institutions shape U.S. actions?
How did America’s new role in the world shape its domestic culture, politics, or society?
How have Europeans, Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans resisted, negotiated, or welcomed the new American presence.
How have processes of historical memory and (re)interpretations of World War II shaped U.S. internationalism in domestic and transnational contexts?

Our key note speakers

We are delighted to welcome these distinguished scholars to our conference:

Professor David Ellwood (Johns Hopkins University, SAIS Europe, Bologna)
Dr. Justin Hart (Texas Tech University);
Professor Bruce Kuklick (University of Pennsylvania)

Paper Proposals

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers. Please send a 300 word abstract and brief biographical note to j.vandenberk@let.ru.nl by July 15, 2016

Date and location

The conference will take place at the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, on October 27-28, 2016. This conference is an initiative of the North American Studies Program at the Radboud University. For more information about our program and our staff please visit www.ru.nl/nas.

Please note that a small fee may apply for participants in this conference.

Art Diplomacy

Posted by Kenneth Weisbrode in New Diplomatic History Blog · Comments ( 0 )

Observer Culture
Museum Diplomacy: Could Islamic Art Inspire Middle East Peace?
US ambassador Samantha Power takes diplomats on a tour of the Met
By Pamela Falk • 06/16/16 10:15am

Visitors from around the world flock to the Met to view art history’s great masterpieces and attend fashionable galas, but to negotiate international relations is surely a first. New York’s premier museum recently became the unlikely venue for a high-security, invite-only meeting organized by Samantha Power, President Barack Obama’s envoy to the United Nations. Mixing business with pleasure, the U.S. ambassador invited key international diplomats to tour the museum’s newest exhibition of Islamic art.

Joining Power to see “Court & Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs,” an exhibition of artifacts from a short-lived Turkic dynasty, were diplomats from 15 countries, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, Senegal and Palestine. Power’s hope: the historic artworks would provide the edification needed to soften the tone of regional discord. Just a day before the museum tour, Syria’s besieged city of Aleppo was plunged into chaos.

Ambassador Power was once a trusted campaign policy advisor to President Obama, and served as a member of the National Security Council before heading to the U.N. in 2013. With only six months left on at her current post, the ambassador is looking to create legacy results.

“She does a lot of events outside of Turtle Bay,” said Rae Lynn Wargo, an aide to Power.

The ambassador has found taking discussions away from the occasionally numbing rhetoric of the U.N. has proved effective for diplomacy. In the past, Power has sparred on Twitter with outspoken Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin regarding her meeting with the punk band Pussy Riot, played basketball with Arab and Israeli youth, and sung karaoke at the South Korean ambassador’s residence. She frequently brings her work home with her to the Waldorf Tower penthouse she shares with her Harvard professor husband Cass Sunstein.

As it turns out, Power’s tour is not the first time the museum has hosted VIP politicians. When the U.N. General Assembly is on, small groups of government representatives have been known to swing through. Notable visitors included Secretary of State John Kerry and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, according to the museum’s vice president of communications Elyse Topalian.

The exhibition at the Met includes exquisite relics from an ancient culture that once occupied the now war-torn region spanning Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria from the 11th through 13th centuries. In the show’s catalogue and in an earlier book, historian A.C.S. Peacock wrote that the Sunni nomadic group, who briefly captured Mosul, Iraq, suffered from divisions during its short dynasty, which is best known for its literacy, innovation and religious tolerance.

“In the Middle Ages, many Muslim societies placed great emphasis on learning and had large libraries and great respect for our shared history,” Met Museum president Daniel Weiss said.

Diplomats spent two hours in the galleries, sharing perspectives on the Seljuqs and, it seemed to this reporter (the only member of the media invited), they managed to find some common ground.

Sheila Canby, curator of Islamic art, directed the visiting diplomats to view a 13th century basin from Jazira. “The relationship,” she said of the ancient Muslims and crusaders, “was complicated,” with some conquest and some cooperation.

“It is important to show that Islamic history is not about fanatics waving flags,” said Weiss. “Most people get it that Muslim world history and culture is not about ISIS.”

Amr Al-Azm, an anthropology professor at Shawnee State University in Ohio who specializes in the region, joined the tour. “I am like a kid in a candy shop, these are treasures of Islam,” said Al-Azm, an anthropology professor at Shawnee State University in Ohio. “A people without their history are lost.”

Al-Azm told the group that Aleppo’s ISIS brigades, such as the Zangids, take their names from ancient civilizations.

“Those who choose those brigade names, are they on the extremist side? On the al-Nusra side or ISIL?” Power asked, intrigued.

“More on the al-Nusra side,” Al-Azm answered.

“This is not the Security Council,” Jordan’s ambassador Dina Kawar chimed in, eliciting laughter. Evoking candor was the point of Power’s tour.

“The exposition shows a period of our history where cultural influences were able to produce the epitome of beautiful artistic pieces,” said Kawar. “When you see the exposition and you watch D’aesh [ISIS] destroying our cultural heritage, claiming it as unreligious, you realize the urgent need to unite against such a dark force…Cultural diplomacy is certainly the most effective and the most necessary at this stage”

Power pushes hard but artfully, and she may be on the right track. Some of the biggest breakthroughs in diplomatic relations since World War II have occurred outside the hallowed halls of government: in the bucolic estate of Bretton Woods, Camp David, the Wye Plantation, and Potsdam. There has been Henry Kissinger’s “shuttle diplomacy” and Richard Nixon’s “ping-pong” diplomacy. Whether Power’s “museum diplomacy” will help mend Middle East fences is hard to predict, but she succeeded at focusing diplomats on history and art. Not a bad place to get the conversation started before she exits the corridors of the U.N.

“Court & Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs,” is on view at the Met Fifth Avenue through July 24.