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An international history of gender and diplomacy

Research project
Active research
Project period
2014 - ongoing
Project owner
Department of Political Science

Short description

Diplomacy was not always an all-male institution. Prior to the nineteenth century, aristocratic women were regularly involved in European diplomatic affairs, although to a more limited degree than their male counterparts. In non-European diplomacy, women have historically also played various important roles. The aim of this project is to examine the role of gender norms and scripts in diplomacy historically, and to map out the inclusion/exclusion of men, women and others from diplomacy in history. The project takes as its point of departure a global and connected history approach, centering on the transnational dimensions of historical changes in the gendered character of diplomacy.

Research questions

• How did diplomacy become an all-male institution to begin with?
• In what parts of the world did diplomacy first become all-male, and how did diplomacy as a male practice spread internationally?
• In what ways was diplomacy masculinized or scripted male historically? What gender norms infused and regulated the institution of diplomacy historically?
• How did women come to enter diplomacy in larger numbers?