History of Diplomacy, 1400 to the present (Kapitoly z dějin raného novověku A)

Typ semináře:B
Semestr (Rok):Summer 2017

History of Diplomacy, 1400 to the present

Why this course?

Pre-modern European and global diplomatic history is making a comeback as scholars leave behind writing about it merely as an account of high political negotiation between courts and explore numerous subtleties of diplomatic practices. Multiple meanings of diplomatic representation and communication enveloped in ritualistic symbolism and rhetoric now receive more attention. Likewise, there is a growing interest in the human aspect of diplomacy, that is, the emotional and psychological experience of diplomats, the very actors who negotiated, communicated, received instructions, wrote and dictated reports while going through hardships of an alien environment. All conceivable sidelines of embassy life in the pre-modern world are thus becoming a topic of interest for historians. Such meaning- and human-focused approach, in turn, makes pre-modern diplomatic history more exciting to research, write, and read.

 Revisionism is not limited to content. New research has also questioned basic premises of diplomatic historiography. For decades, the assumption that history of diplomacy matters more for countries where there was evident progress toward the adoption of permanent diplomatic representation has largely shaped research questions. In recent works, however, there is an increasing emphasis on the diversity of diplomatic actors and practices which differed significantly in Renaissance Italy, across the rest of Europe, and the broader Mediterranean world. In the light of these new reassessments, seeking for the presence or absence of certain diplomatic patterns has become obsolete in measuring a pre-modern state’s diplomatic capabilities.

 In the meantime, diplomatic actors have unprecedentedly expanded in the twentieth century. Professional diplomats are still the locomotive of international interaction. Yet, recent history witnessed involvement of many new actors in global diplomacy, from NGOs to the media, and from internationally renowned musicians, artists, actors and actresses to athletes.

Course objectives/outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to

  1. identify the basic events and personalities in early modern and modern history of European and global diplomacy
  2. learn historical geography
  3. appreciate, evaluate, and interpret archival and published diplomatic sources
  4. learn the evolution of historiography


Part one – chronology

Feb 16: Introduction

 Feb 23: 1450-1600

            Required reading:

            Jeremy Black, A History of Diplomacy, Chapter 1


March 2: 1600-1690
            Required reading:
            Jeremy Black, A History of Diplomacy, Chapter 2

March 9: 1690-1775

            Required reading:
            Jeremy Black, A History of Diplomacy, Chapter 3


 March 16: 1775-1815

            Required reading:

            Jeremy Black, A History of Diplomacy, Chapter 4


 March 23: 1815-1900

            Required reading:

             Jeremy Black, A History of Diplomacy, Chapter 5

 March 30: 1900-1970

            Required reading

            Jeremy Black, A History of Diplomacy, Chapter 6

 April 6: 1970 to the present

            Required reading:

            Jeremy Black, A History of Diplomacy, Chapter 7

 Part two – thematic approach

April 13: TBA

 April 20: TBA

April 27: TBA

 May 4: TBA

 May 11: TBA


Participation: 20% (credit earned every week throughout the semester)

In-class presentation: 20% (choose a book from the book list)

Final paper: 60% (15-page long—excluding bibliography, double-spaced, 12 point-font)



Attendance is not mandatory and you will not receive any credit for merely attending lectures. However, %15 of your final grade will be determined according to your participation during in-class discussions about the assigned readings.

 In-class presentation:

Each student will make an in-class presentation about a book. Each presentation will be 10-minute long. You are encouraged to use power point in your presentation. I will hand out further guidelines about this assignment.

 Final paper:

60% your performance in this class will be measured mainly according to the quality of a final paper that will be submitted by the end of the semester. You may write your paper on any diplomatic subject of your choice. The final deadline for this assignment is June 9, 2017. However, writing a paper is a process so this assignment will be performed in multiple steps:

 February 23rd, Thursday: Choose a topic of interest before you come to class.

March 1st, Wednesday: Submit a bibliography containing at least 20 journal articles and 10 scholarly books, but you are not required to limit yourself to scholarly articles and books. Research sources can consist of internet entries, books, periodicals, music, art, etc. with full notation. Follow Chicago Manuel of Style when preparing your bibliography. The bibliography may include titles in English, Czech, or any other language. When using sources in languages other than English and German, please provide an English translation of the title.

April 14th, Friday: First draft of your paper is due at 6:00 pm. This draft should contain the research questions that you are dealing with and explain why your questions are important. The draft should clearly outline—in the form of prose, not numbered lists—the relevant themes and topics your paper will examine (concepts, ideas, events, names of persons and/or places etc.). The draft should also contain the results of preliminary literature review (what did scholars argue so far about the issue you are exploring?) may also include rough ideas about probable conclusions of your research. At this stage, your paper should be 5 page-long (excluding bibliography), double-spaced, 12 point-font.

May 19th, Friday: Penultimate draft of your paper is due at 6:00 pm. This version of your paper should be 10 page-long (excluding bibliography), double-spaced, 12 point-font. A penultimate draft should have a clear and well-planned structure, properly titled subsections which are formed of complete paragraphs, and a preliminary conclusion. However, a penultimate draft may still have room for the expansion of the narrative with new data.

June 9th, Friday: Final paper is due at 6:00 pm.

Late submission penalty: For every deadline missed, your final average will be lowered 3 points.

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