Languages of Diplomacy in the Eighteenth-Century World 

Eighteenth-century diplomacy adopted French as its main professional language moving away from Latin and some other languages used in diplomacy. Up to the beginning of the twentieth century French was the world’s main diplomatic lingua franca. However, we know little about the pace, the mechanisms and the reasons for this global linguistic shift. While French progressed, other vernaculars continued to be used in diplomacy to some extent and particularly in internal diplomatic communication (i.e. the exchanges between diplomats of one country), but in some cases they were replaced by French as well. This variety of situations reflects different language attitudes across Europe. To what extent did changes in the linguistic arsenal of European diplomats contribute to the uniformization of practices in European diplomacy? Can we consider them to be a mark of modernity? The project will contribute to our understanding of eighteenth-century diplomacy as a particular cultural phenomenon and will shed light on the role of language in eighteenth-century societies. It will make historical knowledge available for broader audiences and contribute to public awareness of the changing cultural standards in western society by stressing the differences between the use of languages in today’s global world and their role in eighteenth-century society.

The question is being explored mainly with the help of a broad program of archival research conducted in several major diplomatic archives in Europe and in the USA by a team of highly qualified specialists in the field. This basic research has been complemented by a discussion of the project findings at a workshop. A selection of archival documents is being published on a dedicated website.

PROJEKTLEITUNG: Vladislav Rjéoutski (DHI Moskau)
LAUFZEIT: 2021 – 2022
MITARBEIT: Igor Fedjukin, Kumar Guha (Frankreich), Gleb Kazakov (Deutschland), Ol‘ga Chavanova, Kirill Chudin, Evgenij Kuškov, Maria Petrova, Nina Pösch (Deutschland), Evgenij Ryčalovskij, Michail Sergeev, Maksim Šikulo, Konstantin Šorochov, Vladimir Somov, Tatjana Trautmann (Deutschland), Ellen Welsh (USA).
FÖRDERUNG: Richard Lounsbery Foundation (USA)

Languages of Diplomacy in Eighteenth-Century World, Internationale Konferenz, (DHI Moskau/hybrid, 13.-14. Januar 2022)

Datenbank der Archivdokumente (in Vorbereitung).