The publication in 2008 of John Watkins’s special issue for the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, “Toward a New Diplomatic History of Medieval and Early Modern Europe,” opened up the formal aspects of the ambassador’s office and official channels of diplomatic negotiation to a complex sociocultural landscape underlying the processes of diplomacy-in-the-making. The field of New Diplomatic History has since burgeoned. This current special issue hews closely to the cross-disciplinary nature of newer diplomatic history, and it responds to critical challenges that have recently emerged in scholarship, particularly the need to balance both breadth and depth of historical and cultural analysis. This volume considers how English institutional and sociocultural networks informed diplomatic practice in Elizabethan and Jacobean England, and how diplomatic thought, representation, and the forging of international relations were interpreted within various English communities. The collection takes special interest in how “ideologies of diplomacy” were formed, negotiated, and articulated within and beyond formal diplomatic spheres. Drawing on various elements of international relations theory, the essays address the ambiguous and contradictory elements of diplomatic reciprocity, explicating the tensions between diplomatic ambition and local governance.

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