Stephan F. Mai

works since January 2015 as a University Assistant (prae doc). He studied at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Object of his PhD-Thesis is the Dutch diplomat Abraham de Wicquefort (1606-1682).

PhD Project:

Biographical Experience and the Formation of Diplomatic Theory:
The Example of Abraham de Wicquefort (1606-1682)

Immunität! Biographische Erfahrung und diplomatische Theoriebildung
bei Abraham de Wicquefort (1606-1682)

Retracing his biography, the project analyzes how Wicquefort thought about early modern society and its structures in general and its diplomacy in particular. What were his reasons to write about diplomacy? Why was he trying to find a solution to the problem of diplomatic immunity although similar treaties dealing with the matter already existed? Why did his work, especially “The Ambassador and his Functions”, became so famous, and wherein are we today still influenced by his thoughts on diplomatic immunity?

On a broader level, the project aims to demonstrate that diplomatic practice and theory are indeed not separated. Scholars such as Hubert Languet, Jacques Bongars, Ezechiel Spanheim or the famous Hugo Grotius were working as diplomats, too. Why were only Grotius and Wicquefort writing on the law of nations? Family, career, the international society of scholars known as the republic of letters, social networks and the function as a political and cultural intermediary will be analyzed to answer these questions and to serve as indicators for further research on this topic.

Research fields:
Cultural History of Diplomacy
Cultural Contacts
Early Modern Court Studies

For further informations click on the links below:
Stephan F. Mai, Personal Homepage (University of Vienna)
Blog “The Wicquefort Diary”