Jan Hennings

Academic Rank: 
Associate Professor
Nador u. 11

My work has focused on Russian-European diplomatic encounters in the early modern period. I am interested in the connections between ritual and politics in early modern societies, particularly in cross-cultural contexts. I have used the evolution of Russian diplomatic culture in the second half of the seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries as a basis for exploring how seemingly circumstantial aspects of diplomacy, such as ceremonial formalities, protocol, and etiquette, shaped the emerging states-system and how ritual impacted on concrete action in early modern political life. I continue to pursue research on early modern international relations and am currently shifting my focus to include diplomatic exchanges between the Russian and Ottoman empires. I am also involved in the British Arts and Humanities Research Council’s research network ‘Textual ambassadors: an investigation into the cultures of diplomacy and literary writing in the early modern world’.

I have tutored undergraduate students and taught graduate seminars on historiography and methods, (early) modern European as well as Russian history at Cambridge, Oxford, Münster and Sabancı University. I am a co-convener of the Princeton-Oxford-Münster-Istanbul-Workshop in Early Modern History that alternates annually between the participant universities in order to provide research training to graduate students and promote international scholarly exchange. Workshop themes have included ‘Visual Cultures’ (2011), ‘Early Modern Global History’ (2012), ‘Urban Cultures (2013), “Emotional Turn?” (2014) and “Religion” (2015). At CEU, I plan to develop courses centred around comparative approaches to the history of diplomacy and early modern empires, cultural encounter and travel literature as well as broader topics on Russia and the Ottoman world.

Selected Fellowships and Awards

Elected member of the Junge Akademie at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) and the German National Academy of Sciences – Leopoldina, 2016-2021

Gerda Henkel Stiftung Fellowship, Sabancı University Istanbul, 2013-15

Junior Research Fellowship in Modern History, St John’s College Oxford, 2009-13.

Hedwig Hintze Dissertation Prize (German Historical Association, 2012)

Fritz T Epstein Dissertation Prize (German Association of Historians of Eastern European History, 2012)

G R Elton PhD Scholarship in Early Modern History, Clare College Cambridge, 2006-09

ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, doctoral award ‘Germany and its Eastern neighbours: contributions to European history’, 2006-09

University of Cambridge Kurt Hahn Trust, postgraduate grant, 2006

Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, 2001-09

Recent and forthcoming Publications


Russia and Courtly Europe: Ritual and the Culture of Diplomacy, 1648-1725 (New Studies in European History, Cambridge UP, 2016: for more information, click here )

(co-edited with T. A. Sowerby), Practices of Diplomacy in the Early Modern World c.1410-1800 (Routledge Research in Early Modern History, forthcoming: for more information, click here).

Articles, book chapters and reviews

‘“A Perfect Relation of the Reception, Audience, and Dispatch, of all Ambassadors from Foreign Princes, sent unto the Emperour of All Russia”: Pristav, Master of ceremonies und die Dokumentation des frühneuzeitlichen Gesandtschaftsrituals in vergleichender Perspektive’, Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung (in print).

‘Rang und Kultur: Vergleiche in der Geschichte russisch-europäischer Beziehungen’, in Rang oder Ranking? Dynamiken und Grenzen des Vergleichs in der Vormoderne, ed. F.-J. Arlinghaus, P. Schuster. (Konflikte und Kultur – Historische Perspektiven, Konstanz University Press, in print).

‘Balance of Power und Theatrum Praecedentiae. Russland im Spiegel der Zeremonialliteratur des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts’, in Das europäische System der Balance of Power und die österreichisch-russischen Beziehungen am Anfang des 18. Jahrhunderts, ed. I. Schwarcz et al. (LIT Münster, in print).

‘Andrei Ivanovich Lyzlov and his Work Skifskaia Istoriia (Scythian History)’, in Christian-Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History 1500-1900, ed. D. Thomas. (Brill, Leiden, forthcoming).

‘Diplomacy, Culture and Space: the Muscovite Court’, in Beyond Scylla and Charybdis. European Courts and Court Residences outside Habsburg and Valois/Bourbon Territories 1500-1700, ed. B. B. Johannsen & K. A. Ottenheym (National Museum of Denmark, University of Southern Denmark Press, Odense, 2015), 56-63.

‘The Failed Gift: Ceremony and Gift-Giving in Anglo-Russian Relations (1662-1664)’, in International Diplomacy. Volume I: Institutions, ed. I. Neumann, H. Leira (SAGE Library of International Relations, London, 2013), 91-110.

‘World Revolution and International Diplomacy, 1900-34’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 16/1 (2015), 204-10. (Review)

Further published reviews in

Jahrbücher für Osteuropäische Geschichte

Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung



PhD in History – University of Cambridge, Clare College, 2011
Visiting Student – EHESS Paris, 2006
MPhil in Modern European History – University of Cambridge, Clare College, 2005
BA in History and German Studies - Universität Rostock, 2004 (Europa-Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt/O, 2000-1)