POLS 315. Diplomatic History

  • Introduction to the course.
  • Readings and media.
  • Requirements.
  • The Telegram group.

More about the course

This course provides an overview of the history of diplomacy. We will discuss what diplomacy is, what diplomats do, and the various institutional settings in which they work. There are many kinds of diplomacy — bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, coercive diplomacy, crisis diplomacy, and so on. But the diplomatic practice also varies between different countries. Diplomacy as it is practiced today is a European invention, to which the rest of the world has had to adapt. But the first diplomats appeared thousands of years ago, and the history of diplomacy is not a European subject.

The main part of the course will discuss various examples of diplomatic practice. We will start with the first encounters which took place between European and non-European peoples during the so called “age of exploration.” We will look at diplomacy in the great empires of East Asia, and spend one week on Constantinople/ Istanbul as a center of international diplomacy. We will then briefly review the institutions of diplomacy as they developed in Europe in the eighteenth-, nineteenth-century, and twentieth-centuries. We will conclude by a couple of contemporary case studies, and a discussion of the diplomacy of the future.

The grade is determined by class participation (50%), a mid-term (25%) and a final exam (25%). The class is held on Wednesdays, 9.30 to 12.30 in YBF B-37. It is crucial that you join our Telegram group.