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Trends in Diplomacy Today



This course contributes to students’ understanding of diplomacy today, i.e. the institutions and processes by which states and other actors represent themselves and their interests to one another. There will be attention for diplomacy’s role in contemporary international society, its machinery, as well as different conceptual and theoretical perspectives on diplomacy. More specifically, the course will look at some of the most salient trends in diplomatic practice.

Methods of Instruction

This course is seminar-based, with an emphasis on discussion and group assignments, including field work based on interviews.


The compulsory literature of approximately 700 pages will be made available electronically by the course lecturer. Before the start of the course, students are recommended to read:

Harold Nicolson, The Evolution of Diplomatic Method, London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson (1954), pp. 1- 77.

Raymond Cohen, ‘Diplomacy through the Ages’, in: Pauline Kerr and Geoffrey Wiseman (eds), Diplomacy in a Globalizing World: Theories and Practices, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp 15-30.

Hedley Bull, ‘Diplomacy and International Order’, in: The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics (1977 or later editions).


Continuous assessment based on 100 per cent course attendance, active participation in group discussions, two group assignments including field work and a presentation, and one piece of written work.


Tuesday 4 February until 25 March, 9.30-12.00 hrs in the Buitenhof room (Stichthage)