IR & Politics Research Seminar: Iver B. Neumann

Wednesday, February 20th - 2:00pm - room 0.16

The International Relations Department at WVPU is delighted to announce the next date for its Politics and IR Research Seminar Series. The primary purpose of the Research Seminar Series is to offer a forum to faculty members and invited academics to present their work and receive comments and feedback from colleagues and students. For students this is an excellent opportunity to gather firsthand experience with ongoing academic debates and research, as well as academic working methods. The format is a classic one: 45 minutes presentation followed by a 30-45 minute Q&A session.

The Politics & IR Research Seminar Series will continue on February 20th 2019 with Prof. Iver B. Neumann presenting his research on The Evolution of Diplomacy.

Extant discussions of diplomacy understood as a social institution either take the form of histories or genealogies. This chapter attempts to complement these discussions by understanding the emergence of diplomacy in terms of evolutions. Specifically, I draw on Elderede and Gould’s idea of punctuated equilibria or tipping points, understood as the culmination of long-term trends. Taking note of the importance of big game hunting as a precondition for human cooperation generally, I go on to identify five more tipping-points. These are classificatory kinship as a template for regular cooperation; regular and ritualized contacts between culturally similar small-scale polities; regular and ritualized contacts between culturally different large-scale polities; permanent bilateral diplomacy and permanent multilateral diplomacy. In conclusion, I discuss what seems to be a trend on its way to become a new tipping-point, namely that states increasingly hybridise their diplomacy by working with and through non-state actors.

As space is limited, please register at