In The Birth of Territory (2013), Stuart Elden reenvisaged the theoretical and practical approaches to the concept of territory. In his analysis of Shakespeare’s plays, Elden explains that “territory is not a product, but a process.” Likewise, diplomacy is not viewed as a series of events but as a process. Considering these fundamental theoretical evolutions, this conference seeks to analyse the relationship between territory and diplomacy in the 17th and 18th centuries in the Anglo-American world and its international relations. Territory and diplomacy will be examined as words, concepts and practice. The methodological approaches to be used will be those of history (diplomatic, political, economic and social), literature, philosophy, law and the new diplomatic history which articulates literature, history and philosophy. Papers (25-30 minutes) will be given in English or French. They will deal with the Anglo-American world or other geographical areas but in connection with the anglophone sphere of the 17th and 18th centuries.
In the wake of Grotius’ discussion of sovereignty in De iure belli ac pacis, and of territory and the ambassador in Defense chapter V of Mare Liberum (his answer to Richard Hakluyt’s 1609 translation of De iure), the territories of diplomacy will be analysed in terms of porosity and process. The conference will reappraise territorial sovereignty, the rupture between the monarch’s persona and the territory, and their impact on diplomatic representation and action. It will observe the impact of embassy (as both a place and a trade) on the recognition of sovereignty especially in the context of the evolution of ambassadorial residences and the sale and purchase of territories in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Papers may also assess the impact of the English and American revolutions on the concept and use of diplomatic territory. They will raise the issues of extraterritoriality, inviolability and the existence of sanctuary territories. The conference will thus seek to reflect on the creation of territories of diplomacy through commerce and question the influence of intra and extra European commercial roads and practices on the practice of diplomacy and the concept of territory.
Territories of diplomacy and their creation will also be considered in terms of literary, artistic and dramatic creation. Proposals may question the role of (itinerant) artists as creators of territories, the role of cultural spaces as territories of diplomacy (whether we focus on locations, audiences or types of entertainment). In the wake of Lotte Jensen’s work on English translations of foreign poems as gestures of international diplomacy in the 17th and 18th centuries, the conference seeks to observe the tropes of diplomacy and territory in poetry, novels, epistolary literature (e.g. Lady Montagu’s Turkish Embassy Letters (1762)) and in the translation from or into English of literary works. In the wake of the recent research on theatre and cultural diplomacy from Shakespeare’s works and their subsequent recreation to Aphra Behn’s or Susana Centlivre’s plays, the conference seeks proposals on the dramatic writing and dramaturgical creation of diplomatic territories. Like Ellen Welch in Theatre of Diplomacy (2017), papers may observe how drama, painting, music and fiction partake of the creation of diplomatic territories in official and unofficial encounters. Papers may also focus on literary and art objects as creators and ambassadors of a territory.
At the turn of the 17th century, the meaning of the word ‘territory’ evolved to mean “territorie […] region, or the countrie lying about the citie” (Cawdrey, 1604). The conference thus seeks linguistic and lexical analyses of the concept of diplomatic territory. Besides, this changing definition which now focuses on the urban level raises the issue of the existence or the premises of a territorial diplomacy (that of cities or colonised territories) in the 17th and 18th centuries. Finally, the conference welcomes proposals considering the limits of the concept of territory and how moving from territory to territorialisation can be both a practical and an epistemic obstacle. An example of this would be the study of the concept of territory in intercultural diplomacy and treaty diplomacy (notably in the Americas) in contrast with the increasing use of military diplomacy at that time.