Objects in Conflict. The Material Culture of Intercultural Diplomacy (1600 – 1830)
International Conference at the University of Regensburg, October 6-8, 2022, organized by the DFG-funded project "Entangled Objects? The Material Culture of Diplomacy (1700-1830)," directed by Volker Depkat (American Studies) and Harriet Rudolph (Early Modern History)
Call for Papers
Deadline January 31, 2022
The interdisciplinary conference examines the variable forms, functions, and politico-legal semantics of object use in diplomatic interactions between European and non-European actors in European and non-European regions. We are interested in diplomatic encounters of representatives of early modern political units that were perceived as highly different by the contemporaries, and seek to analyze diplomatic situations, in which the use of objects and their meanings were contested, or in which artifacts were used to prevent, intensify, moderate, or disguise political conflicts between the negotiating parties. We want to investigate, from a comparative perspective, the complex interplay of ideas (concepts of rule, ideologies, and political core values), operational political interests (policy aims in specific contexts of negotiation), and the – all too often pre-arranged – use of artifacts in colonial and non-colonial settings.
Proposals can address important individual objects, specific object groups, or the entire material setting of diplomatic interactions. Papers could, for example, investigate
- spaces of diplomatic interaction (the furnishings of audience chambers, diplomatic lodgings, ephemeral structures and their material equipment in open spaces)
- the use of objects by diplomatic actors during solemn entries into a city or during formal public parades to a reception (clothing, jewelry, badges of honor, weapons, flags, musical instruments, etc.)
- the materiality of diplomatic documents (treaties, ratifications, credentials, maps, and other informational media as material artifacts including the various forms of their storage and presentation)
- objects of gift exchange (official-ritualized gift exchange between rulers, but especially gift exchange between diplomatic actors of different hierarchical levels and functions)
- food cultures and the use of objects at formal dinners during diplomatic meetings
- object-based cultures of remembrance with regard to diplomacy (production and distribution of memorabilia, presentation of event-related objects in rulers' residences or homes of diplomatic actors, commemorative plaques, etc.)
Papers investigating other contexts not outlined here would also be welcome, if they provide illuminating perspectives on diplomatic object use in the period of investigation. We are especially interested in how the use of diplomatic objects in the early modern period was visualized, textualized and incorporated into narrative structures. We would like to know, which functions artefacts assumed with regard to the self-constitution of diplomatic actors or the dramaturgy of diplomatic interactions. We are interested in how artifacts functioned in the self-definition of diplomatic actors and the dramaturgy of diplomatic situations. We invite proposals from all disciplines in the humanities (history, art history, ethnology, literary studies, cultural studies, etc.) which take into account the perspectives of both sides of diplomatic negotiations, or which specifically address non-European practices and patterns of interpretation.
Please send your abstract (500 words) and a CV to sekretariat.Fruehneuzeit@ur.de by January 31, 2022.