Conference: New Diplomatic History Network, 24-26 October 2018

'Bridging Divides,' the 3rd Conference of the New Diplomatic History Network, was held at the RIAS from 24 through 26 October 2018. Keynote speakers were Naoko Shimazu (Yale-NUS College Singapore) and John Watkins (University of Minnesota).

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The New Diplomatic History Network is an organization of historians focusing on the historical study of diplomats, their methods, and their cultural, political and social milieux.    New diplomatic history involves the study of individuals and groups who perform diplomatic roles (but who have so far often been ignored), and the use of perspectives and methodologies from across the social sciences to bring their significance into focus. The network reasserts diplomatic actors as important subjects of historical study while being open to innovations in the understanding of evolving international society.

In the context of globalization, diplomacy has become a complex field of activity involving a host of state and non-state actors in multiple levels and forms of global, regional, and local governance. While the nation-state continues to function as the cornerstone of international order, an increasingly crowded environment has forced adaptations and alterations to all levels of diplomatic practice. Diplomatic studies has duly followed these developments, broadening its scope of attention and theoretical approach in the process.

Yet is this expansion of the diplomatic field only confined to the recent era of globalization? Has diplomacy not always involved a range of actors and interests, even during the heyday of statist diplomacy in recent centuries? Was the state-led modern era unique in the long history of diplomatic practice? How have institutional frameworks altered the poise of diplomacy over time? What are the precedents for the condition of diplomacy in the early 21st century?

As the main meeting point for the New Diplomatic History network, this conference aims to bring together scholars working on diplomacy from different historical periods and from different disciplines across the social sciences and humanities. It intends to link the study of diplomacy across the early modern, modern and post-modern eras, and test the application of investigative concepts across space and time, inviting comparisons across both geographical regions and historical periods.

The program and registration form can be downloaded here.

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The New Diplomatic History network recently established its own journal, Diplomatica: A Journal of History and Society. The journal welcomes submissions from all scholars active in the study of diplomacy from a historical perspective. More details can be found at

Follow us at @NDH_Network