Cross-Cultural Diplomacy Compared was a Leverhulme Trust-funded postdoctoral project (2016-2019) led by Dr Guido van Meersbergen. Building on recent trends in Global History and New Diplomatic History, this project's aims were to advance our understanding of early modern cross-cultural exchanges by studying the interactions between European and South Asian diplomatic actors in a diverse range of courtly settings. By organising events that brought together an international network of specialists, this project pursued its wider aim of developing a global perspective on the trans-cultural development of early modern diplomacy.
Cross-Cultural Diplomacy Compared seeks to understand how early modern European and South Asian diplomatic actors interacted at different South Asian courts, forged diplomatic relationships, and mediated cultural difference. It compares and contrasts the activities of Dutch, English, and South Asian diplomatic agents in the Mughal Empire between circa 1600 and 1750. By comparing the diplomatic approaches of European envoys and their reception at South Asian courts with contemporary intra-Asian diplomacy, this project examines how individuals from different cultural, religious, linguistic, and political backgrounds engaged with one another’s symbolic language, social practices, and political concepts. It also explores how the European newcomers adapted to, and were incorporated into, a set of pre-existing diplomatic networks.
The project draws on approaches from diplomatic history, cultural history, and global history. It reconsiders the position of early modern European actors within the diplomatic world of Asia by focusing on their role as supplicants and tributaries to powerful Asian rulers. It also questions established Europe-centred narratives of the rise of early modern diplomacy by highlighting the significance of Asian actors and polities in this wider development. The research aims to result in a comparative monograph on European diplomatic practices in early modern Asia.
- 17 March 2019: ‘Diplomatic Petitioning between Christian and Islamic Polities: Commonalities and Contestations (1500-1700)’. Panel at Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting 2019, Toronto.
- 8 December 2018: One-Day Workshop Gift and Tribute in Early Modern Diplomacy: Global Perspectives. Warwick in Venice.
- 27 November 2018: Postgraduate Masterclass Using Diplomatic Sources: The Norris Embassy to India (1699-1702). University of Warwick.
- 1 February 2017: One-Day Workshop Cross-Cultural Diplomacy Compared: Afro-Eurasian Perspectives (16th-18th Centuries). University of Warwick, Institutive of Advanced Study.
5 November 2019: 'East India Company Gifting Practices and Anglo-Mughal Political Exchange (1670-1717)', TORCH Network on Diplomacy in the Early Modern Period (1400-1800). University of Oxford.
17 October 2019: 'Diplomacy and Diplomatic Actors: Categories and Definitions'. Categories at Work in Global History, Japan-Warwick GHCC Exchange, University of Warwick.
- 17 March 2019: 'Petitioning the Padishah: Practices of East India Company Diplomacy in Seventeenth-Century Mughal India'. Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting 2019. Toronto.
- 12 February 2019: 'Anglo-Indian Diplomacy in the Seventeenth Century: A History in Documents'. Oxford Transnational and Global History Seminar. University of Oxford.
- 25 October 2018: 'Gift and Tribute in Early Modern Afro-Eurasia', with Lisa Hellman and Birgit Tremml-Werner. Bridging the Divide: Third Conference of the New Diplomatic History Network. Roosevelt Institute for American Studies, Middelburg.
- 13 September 2018: 'Global Courts, Local Diplomacy: The East India Companies in the Mughal Imperial Framework'. Global-Microhistory Conference ‘Global Empires, Global Courts? European University Institute, Florence.
- 3 June 2018: 'Dutch Perceptions and Practice of Mughal Diplomatic Culture: Everyday Communication and Epistolary Culture, c. 1700'. Norske Historiedager 2018. Universitetet i Agder.
- 28 September 2017: "'Corresponding to the Moorish Method’: Diplomatic Communication and Epistolary Culture in Mughal-Dutch Diplomacy, ca. 1700". Splendid Encounters 6: Correspondence and Information Exchange in Diplomacy (1300-1750). Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Lisbon.
- 2 September 2017: "Merchant-Diplomacy in Bengal During the Mughal War of Succession (1657-1660)". Fifth European Congress on World and Global History (ENIUGH): "Ruptures, Empires, and Revolutions". Central European University, Budapest.
- 2 February 2017: "Death by Diplomacy: the Dutch East India Company and Provincial Politics in Mughal Bengal (1672-1678)". Between Local, Transregional and Global Materiality. Video Workshop, Universität Basel and University of Warwick.
- 1 February 2017: "Modes of Diplomacy: Rethinking East India Company Diplomacy in Mughal South Asia". Cross-Cultural Diplomacy Compared: Afro-Eurasian Perspectives (16th-18th Centuries). University of Warwick, Institute of Advanced Study.
- 'The Diplomatic Repertoires of the East India Companies in Mughal South Asia, 1608-1717', The Historical Journal (2019). First view.
- 'Diplomacy in a Provincial Setting: The East India Companies in Seventeenth-Century Bengal and Orissa'. The Dutch and English East India Companies: Diplomacy, Trade and Violence in Early Modern Asia, eds. Adam Clulow and Tristan Mostert (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018), 55-78.
'The Merchant-Diplomat in Comparative Perspective: Dutch and other Embassies to the Court of Aurangzeb, 1660-1666’. Practices of Diplomacy in the Early Modern World c.1410-1800, eds. Tracey A. Sowerby and Jan Hennings (New York: Routledge, 2017), 147-165.