Christof Muigg

Universitätsassistent (prae doc) and PhD Candidate at the Department of History, University of Vienna

Dissertation: Battles & Courts. Strategies of Imperial Generals in Early Modern Diplomacy

Schlachtfelder und Fürstenhöfe. Strategien kaiserlicher Militärführer in der Diplomatie nach 1648

The actor-centred approach made visible the involvement and participation of a large variety of individuals from different social groups and backgrounds and of both genders. Hitherto understudies is the systemic inclusion of military personel in practices of diplomacy. Historians of the period treat military practice and practices of diplomacy as two seperate spheres of inquiry, and hardly take notice of each others findings. My doctoral thesis is a proposal for an integrative perspective on practices of warfare and diplomacy in the light of the Cultural History of Politics, Gender History, and Self-Testimony Research. For this purpose, I present a complementary model of the Military and Diplomacy on the grounds of the shared practices of both fields. Recently, research on gender in early modern diplomacy has shown that gender is a relevant factor for practices of diplomacy – and for its perception and representation. Hence, in an actor-centred approach (von Thiessen/Windler 2010) I will zoom in on the missions of courtly diplomacy undertaken by Imperial general and statesmen Raimondo Montecuccoli (1609-1680) between 1653-1655 in the context of the abdication and conversion of Christina, Queen of Sweden (1626-1689). Montecuccoli undertook three journeys as Emperor Ferdinand III.’s representative to Christina, the first when she was still reigning queen in winter 1653/54, the second and third when Christina was in Flanders  in 1654 and in 1655 respectively. During each journey, Montecuccoli had produced a detailed diario in which he had written down his perceptions not only of Christina and her court, but of a manifold of information such as personal and cultural encounters, sightseeing, military information, and discourses of knowledge. Montecuccoli’s self-fashioning as diplomat was forged by reference to all these topoi. An important ressource for Montecuccoli was his military habitus, which had been forged during his years as Imperial military commander during the Thirty Years‘ War.

For this analytical purpose I use Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of Habitus, which refers to a general fundamental embodied attitude, learned and practiced through socialisation. The military habitus had an impact on Raimondo Montecuccolis self-fashioning as a diplomat, providing him with skills that were useful not only on the battlefield, but in courtly diplomacy as well.

Research Fields:
Early Modern Gender History
Military History / History of Violence
Self-Testimonies of Early Modern Elites
Cultural History of Diplomacy
Historical Anthropology