The Network for New Diplomatic History is a group of scholars whose work focuses broadly on the historical study of diplomats, their methods, and their cultural, political and social milieux. Diplomatic history as a discipline is now being rediscovered as historians have become more receptive to trends in cultural studies, to advances in the social sciences, and to the mutual incorporation of state and non-state actors into the study of global, international, and transnational history. This in turn is transforming our understanding of ‘diplomacy’ and the identity of ‘the diplomat’.
Our network’s approach is ‘new’ for two reasons: it is aimed specifically at the study of individuals and groups who perform diplomatic roles, rather than at international relations as a whole; and it integrates perspectives and methodologies such as prosopography, the sociology of knowledge, gender studies, and network analysis into historical, political, and economic narratives. Our interests include, inter alia, the history of diplomatic institutions, practices, languages, norms, symbols, families, friendships, literature, associations, attitudes, and methods. In all these areas we seek to reassert professional diplomats and other diplomatic actors as important subjects of historical study while paving the way for further innovations in the understanding of international society.
Originating in 2011 with just eight colleagues—Houssine Alloul, Michael Auwers, Nevra Biltekin, Louis Clerc, Karen Gram-Skjoldager, Michael Jonas, Ariane Leendertz, and Ken Weisbrode—we have grown to a network of over 100 scholars in several countries. In 2013 we held our first conference under the auspices of Giles Scott-Smith at Leiden University. A second conference, entitled ‘Borders, Networks, and Organisations through the 20th Century’, was held at Copenhagen University in November 2016. The aim is to hold these events every two/three years, with Leiden as the operational base, enabling the network to congregate, share ideas, and map out the state of the field.
Although most of our own work is in the modern era, we are open to scholars with any chronological and geographic expertise. Anyone interested in joining our mailing list, participating in our events, or featuring their work may write to us at .