Position title: Solmsen Fellow (2011-2012)
History, University of North Florida
Lying Abroad: Information, Communication and the Culture of Diplomacy in Reformation Europe
This study explores the logistics of information and international communications and its impact on Reformation-era diplomacy between West European states. By exploring the cycle of information—its acquisition, dissemination and utilization—it demonstrates that all parties engaged in diplomatic discourse used strikingly similar methods of accomplishing their goals despite differences in both governmental structure and religious orientation. These similarities indicate that the limitations imposed by logistics forced these governments to use parallel methods, and that the same weaknesses pervaded all national practices. This approach presents a better understanding of exactly how “things happened,” because the manner in which news and information spread often shaped the outcome of those events. The monograph draws on a wide variety of sources, including diplomatic correspondence, financial accounts, private memoranda and diaries, depositions, memoirs and other materials. At its core, this work is a study of the individuals involved in the process and their experiences interacting in a vibrant, dynamic environment.
Denice Fett, Solmsen Fellow, is Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. She completed her PhD at the Ohio State University in 2010. Although her current project focuses on diplomatic communications and information networks in Reformation diplomacy, her broader research interests include diplomatic culture, information and intelligence, the transmission of news, and the impact of time and space on early modern international communications.