Jan Hennings

Associate Professor

Contact information

Vienna, Quellenstrasse 51 | B205/a
+43 1 25230 7111

On leave 2020-21.

Jan Hennings' work has focused on Russian-European diplomatic encounters in the early modern period. He is interested in the connections between ritual and politics in early modern societies, particularly in cross-cultural contexts. He has 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 - ceremonial formalities, protocol, and etiquette - shaped foreign relations and how ritual impacted on concrete action in early modern political life. His current project shifts the focus to include diplomatic exchanges between the Russian and Ottoman empires, concentrating on the first Russian resident embassy in Constantinople at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Before moving to Budapest, he had held a Junior Research Fellowship at St John's College Oxford and taught history as a Visiting Assistant Professor and Gerda Henkel Fellow at Sabanci University in Istanbul. At CEU, he offers courses centred around comparative approaches to the history of diplomacy and early modern empires as well as on broader topics on European history, Russia and the Ottoman world.  He is an associate editor of the Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas and serves on the editorial board of Diplomatica: A Journal of Diplomacy and Society. He also coordinates CEU's Early Modern Studies consortium.

Jan Hennings would welcome enquiries from prospective students interested in working on:

  • Early modern Europe
  • Muscovy and Imperial Russia
  • History of diplomacy and international relations
  • Russian-Ottoman relations
  • Travel literature and cultural encounter

Key Publications 


Russia and Courtly Europe: Ritual and the Culture of Diplomacy, 1648-1725New Studies in European History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Reissued in paperback, 2018).

Edited Volume

Practices of Diplomacy in the Early Modern World c. 1410-1800Routledge Research in Early Modern History (London and New York: Routledge, 2017. Reissued in paperback, 2019). Co-edited with T. Sowerby.

Recent Articles

'Andrew Marvell in Russia: Secretaries, Rhetoric, and Public Diplomacy', Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 50 (2020), 565-586. Co-authored with E. Holberton.

‘Information and Confusion: Russian Resident Diplomacy and Peter A. Tolstoi’s Arrival in the Ottoman Empire (1702–1703)’, International History Review, 41 (2019), 1003-1019.

 ‘Textual Ambassadors and Ambassadorial Texts: Literary Representation and Diplomatic Practice in George Turberville’s and Thomas Randolph’s accounts of Russia (1568-9)’, in T. Sowerby, J. Craigwood, (eds.), Cultures of Diplomacy and Literary Writing in the Early Modern World (Oxford, 2019), 175-189.

‘Balance of Power und Theatrum Praecedentiae: Russland im Spiegel der Zeremonialliteratur des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts’, in I. Schwarcz (ed.), Die Flucht des Thronfolgers Aleksej: Krise in der „Balance of Power“ und den österreichisch-russischen Beziehungen am Anfang des 18. Jahrhunderts (Berlin, Vienna, 2019), 11-24.


ESSA Book Prize 2017 'for most outstanding recent scholarly monograph on pre-modern Slavdom', awarded by the Early Slavic Studies Association | ASEEES for Russia and Courtly Europe

Hedwig Hintze Prize 2012. Best dissertation award of the German Historical Association

Fritz Theodor Epstein Prize 2012. Best dissertation award of the Association of Historians of Eastern European History (Germany)


Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS), Fellow, 2020-21

Junge Akademie at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Elected Member, 2016-21

Gerda Henkel Foundation, Research Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor, Sabanci University Istanbul, 2013-15

St John's College (University of Oxford), Junior Research Fellow, 2009-13


MA theses by students who have worked with Jan include (selection):

  • 'Ceremonial Representation in Cross-Confessional Diplomacy: The Ottoman Embassy of a Christian Ambassador to Moscow in 1621', Maria Telegina (2017)
  • 'Diplomatic Intermediaries During Rákóczi’s War of Independence, 1703–1711', Ewelina Sikora (2018)
  • 'Official Physicians Within the Medical Landscape of the Russian Empire (1760s)', Kateryna Pasichnyk (2018)
  • 'The Temperance Movement: Alcohol and Politics in Fin-de-Siècle Russia', Anna Smelova (2018)
  • 'Muscovite Diplomacy and the 1682 Moscow Uprising', Konstantin Meftakhadinov (2019)
  • 'Consular Affairs: Exploring the Practices of Austro-Hungarian Consular Diplomacy in the Ottoman Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean around 1900', Sven Mörsdorf (2020)
  • 'Sixteenth-Century Travel Literature Collectors and the Image of the Ottomans in Humanist Thought: Francesco Sansovino and Richard Hakluyt', Oana Avram (2020)
  • 'Art and Artists as Agents of Empire: "Russianess" in the Exhibitions of Vasily Vereshchagin', Lydia Kotlyar (2020)
  • 'Muslims of the Russian Empire and Hajj Bureaucracy in the Official Reports and Hajjnames of Volga-Ural Muslims at the Turn of the Twentieth Century', Ulzhan Rojik (2020)
  • 'Ethnic Groups and Charity Associations in fin-de-siècle St Petersburg', Kseniya Venediktova (current)
  • 'Empire, Modernization, And Craftsmen: Tbilisi’s Hamkaris in Georgia Under Russian Rule (1844-1865), Tornike Chumburidze (current)
  • 'Reciprocal Diplomacy between the Republic of Venice and the Muscovite Court: The Embassies of Alberto Vimina (1655) and Ivan Chemodanov (1656), Maria Golovina (current)

Doctoral supervision

'Table Set for Diplomats: Food, Drink, and Politics in Polish-Lithuanian Diplomatic Relations, 1674–1696', Ewelina Sikora (current)

Courses taught in previous years: 

  • The Perfect Ambassador? International Relations and the Origins of Diplomacy, 1500-1800
  • Global Comparisons: Russia and the Ottoman Empire, 1453-1839 (together with Tijana Krstic)
  • Grand Debates in Russian and Eurasian History (together with Charles Shaw)
  • Interdisciplinary Methods of Comparative History
  • Barbarians, Infidels, and Noble Savages: Stereotypes and Inter-cultural Perception in the Early Modern Period and Beyond


PhD in History, University of Cambridge, Clare College
MPhil in Modern European History, University of Cambridge, Clare College
BA in History and German Studies, Universität Rostock

Courses taught by Jan Hennings

Projects with involvement of Jan Hennings