This seminar brings together scholars of history, literature, art, music, and theater to  examine how fourteenth- through eighteenth-century diplomatic encounters shaped aesthetic productions, including texts, objects, and performances. Modern diplomacy, including the institution of permanent embassies, emerged in Renaissance Venice, spread throughout Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and eventually grew into a highly codified profession in the eighteenth century. The homogenization of European diplomatic practice led to intensified political and cultural interactions on the continent but also beyond it, as European and Asian powers exchanged embassies with greater frequency. The “rise” of diplomacy as a framework for global political relations provided a fertile context for creation and innovation in the arts. In this seminar, we explore how the performing, visual, and literary arts played an important role in celebrating, commemorating, facilitating, and commenting on diplomatic encounters, furnishing objects for exchange, spaces for sociability and self-fashioning, and emotional content for international negotiations.

Seminar papers will be available to all participants, respondants, and chairs in late January. Anyone else who would like to read the papers may request access from Ashley Bruckbauer (abruckba@email.unc.edu). On February 19, participants will deliver brief talks that summarize and/or expand upon the pre-circulated papers as a prelude to discussion.

On the eve of the seminar, we are holding a special public event, Diplomacy and the Arts, Then and Now, Thursday, February 18 at 5pm in the University Room of Hyde Hall. Please join us for this lively round table discussion on the diplomatic uses of the performing, visual, and literary arts across time. A reception will follow.



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