Salon Sociability and State Bankruptcy: Women's diplomatic and political spaces in Denmark-Norway and abroad during the Napoleonic Wars - SALONDIPLOMACY

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Kristine Dyrmann


University of Oxford


DKK 915,385




Visiting Fellowships at University of Oxford


SALONDIPLOMACY integrates Danish women in the new diplomatic history of the Napoleonic wars. This was a formative time that saw Denmark-Norway turn to active participation, state bankruptcy, and defeat in the Napoleonic wars, between 1801 and the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15. Recent research has highlighted the significance of this crisis, and of informal negotiations, in forming a new, international order after the war. SALONDIPLOMACY uncovers the interplay between sociability and diplomacy, while integrating the experiences of Denmark-Norway in a broader, transnational diplomatic history. It does so by focusing on elite women who did not have access to formal channels and may therefore provide key insights into how diplomacy and politics operate on an informal level in a time of crisis.


SALONDIPLOMACY investigates women's involvement in diplomacy and economy on an informal level in Denmark-Norway at the turn of the nineteenth century. SALONDIPLOMACY reconnects the histories of salons and diplomacy, thereby nuancing our understanding of diplomatic practices, contributing both to Danish history and to the new diplomatic history. We still know relatively little about the role of women in diplomacy, but recent research has demonstrated the diplomatic agency of salonnières at the end of the Napoleonic wars. By examining a space often said to be "governed" by its female host - the salon - SALONDIPLOMACY bridges the fields of diplomatic history and studies of sociability and fashionable space to enhance our understanding of the cultural meanings of past social interactions.


SALONDIPLOMACY analyses a range of sources (including correspondence, diplomatic reports, prints, and maps), and examines the changing dynamics of spaces of salon sociability and diplomatic negotiation during the crisis of war. It focuses on four localised case studies: 1) the Copenhagen salon of the Danish salonnière and finance minister's wife, Charlotte Schimmelmann (1757-1816): 2) the site of formal Danish political leadership during the war, the military camp at Rendsborg near the border of Schleswig-Holstein: 3) the continental spa at Bad Pyrmont, where the diplomatic and fashionable elite continued to meet in summertime during the war: and 4) the Danish representation at Vienna - the city where the final Congress of Vienna was held after the war in 1814-15.

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