International relations between representatives of different states or dominions do not presuppose nation states in the modern sense, but have been an integral part of political action since antiquity. This is clearly demonstrated by treaties, which functioned as central instruments of international relations in both pre-modern and modern history. While international relations can be understood as political negotiation processes shaped by various actors and are therefore in a state of permanent change, treaties, alliances and armistice agreements mark culmination points of foreign relations. Treaties are complex products of condensed negotiation acts that required preparation, generally involving a large number of actors. Moreover, their aftereffects need to be considered. For antiquity and the Middle Ages, international relations can often only be grasped by looking at the tradition of treaties.
The bi-annual conference will take a diachronic, comparative look at treaties in a global perspective. In doing so, it aims to fill a gap in research, as previous studies have mostly been epoch-specific. In this way, types of contracts, the actors involved, contractual and negotiation practices and the consequences of contracts can be systematically examined and typologized from a longue durée perspective. At the same time, treaties serve as a magnifying glass for the trans-epochal cultural-historical comparison of central functional mechanisms of international relations. The global perspective can also help to break through the Eurocentrism of research. We also strive for a broad methodological diversity that encompasses perspectives from political, legal and economic history as well as cultural and emotional history.
Contributions are welcome on peace and arbitration treaties, congress treaties, armistice agreements, alliance and friendship treaties, dynastic marriage treaties, international law treaties, international trade agreements and, more recently, climate agreements and much more. Contributions on treaties that were planned but ultimately did not materialize are also welcome.
Possible contributions include, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- preparatory and accompanying negotiations (e.g. mediation)
- actors/groups of actors involved, such as rulers, nobility, diplomats, church representatives, cultural brokers, translators, etc.
- contemporary theories and understandings of negotiation forms and customs as well as negotiation practices
- negotiation languages and systems
- security and guarantee mechanisms
- notions of temporality among actors and in contracts (e.g. duration of validity, occurrence of the contractual event, historical references)
- material dimensions of contracts (e.g. copies of contractual documents, seals)
- staging and performance (initiation, negotiation, conclusion, remembrance)
Submissions from academics of all qualification and career levels are welcome! Conference languages are German and English. Presentations should last approximately 20 minutes plus discussion.
Conference venue: Historisches Kolleg in München, hybrid
We will endeavor to reimburse travel and accommodation costs.
Please send an abstract of approx. 300 words and a short CV to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org by January 15, 2024. All proposals will get a reply by the end of February 2024.