Jan Hennings

Senior member
Associate Professor

Contact information

Vienna, Quellenstrasse 51
+43 1 25230 7111

Jan Hennings' work has focused on Russian-European diplomatic encounters in the early modern period. He is currently working on a monograph-length study of Russian-Ottoman relations in the early eighteenth century, exploring the life and office of the first Russian resident ambassador in Istanbul, Peter A. Tolstoi.

Jan Hennings graduated from the University of Cambridge with a PhD in History. Before joining the faculty of CEU, he  held a Junior Research Fellowship at St John's College Oxford and taught history as a Visiting Professor and Gerda Henkel Fellow at Sabanci University in Istanbul. He coordinates CEU's Early Modern Studies consortium and offers courses centered 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. Between 2016 and 2021 he was a member of the Junge Akademie at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. He just returned from a year-long research fellowship at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) and now serves as the Head of the History Department.

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 Publications

"Constantinople as a 'Window on Europe': Peter the Great’s Ambassador and Diplomatic Hierarchies at the Sultan’s Court," Vek Prosveshcheniia / Le Siècle des Lumières, vol. 7, ed. S. Karp et al. (Moscow: Nauka, 2021), 54-73.

"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.

"Rang und Kultur: Vergleiche in der Geschichte russisch-europäischer Beziehungen," in Rang oder Ranking? Dynamiken und Grenzen des Vergleichs in der Vormoderne, ed. F.-J. Arlinghaus, P. Schuster (Konstanz: Konstanz University Press, 2020), 17-36.

"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 Cultures of Diplomacy and Literary Writing in the Early Modern World, ed. T. Sowerby, J. Craigwood (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), 175-189.

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


ESSA Book Prize 2017 "for most outstanding recent scholarly monograph on pre-modern Slavdom," awarded for Russia and Courtly Europe by the Early Slavic Studies Association, an affiliate of the Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies (ASEEES)

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 in Residence, 2020-21

Young Academy at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Member (by election), 2016-21

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

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


PhD supervision

Table Set for Diplomats: Food, Drink, and Politics in Polish-Lithuanian Diplomatic Relations, 1674–1696

Venetian-Muscovite Diplomatic Encounters and the Production of Knowledge from the Mid-Seventeenth Century to the Peace Negotiations at Karlowitz

Developments in Diplomatic Culture in Early Modern Sino-Russian Relations, 1618-1727

Rethinking Humankind: Humanist Agency and the Early-Modern European Discourse on Humanity and Natural Rights

The Classical Tradition and Shaping Myths of Origins in Early Modern East-Central Europe

MA supervision (selected titles):

  • Ceremonial Representation in Cross-Confessional Diplomacy: The Ottoman Embassy of a Christian Ambassador to Moscow in 1621
  • Diplomatic Intermediaries During Rákóczi’s War of Independence, 1703–1711
  • Official Physicians Within the Medical Landscape of the Russian Empire (1760s)
  • The Temperance Movement: Alcohol and Politics in Fin-de-Siècle Russia,
  • Muscovite Diplomacy and the 1682 Moscow Uprising
  • Consular Affairs: Exploring the Practices of Austro-Hungarian Consular Diplomacy in the Ottoman Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean around 1900
  • Sixteenth-Century Travel Literature Collectors and the Image of the Ottomans in Humanist Thought: Francesco Sansovino and Richard Hakluyt
  • Art and Artists as Agents of Empire: 'Russianess' in the Exhibitions of Vasily Vereshchagin
  • 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
  • Reciprocal Diplomacy between the Republic of Venice and the Muscovite Court: The Embassies of Alberto Vimina (1655) and Ivan Chemodanov (1656)
  • Emancipation, Modernization, Riot: Tbilisi’s Amkrebi and Russian Imperial Rule (1801-67)
  • The "Eastern Question" in the Russian Empire’s Western Province: The Case of Kyiv in the 1870s
  • Russia, Austria, and Old Believers: The Entanglements of Religious and Foreign Policies in 1846-1856

    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 (with Tijana Krstic and Brett Wilson)
  • Interdisciplinary Methods of Comparative History
  • Grand Debates in Russian and Eurasian History (with Charles Shaw)
  • Barbarians, Infidels, and Noble Savages: Stereotypes and Inter-cultural Perception in the Early Modern Period and Beyond
  • History of Archives: the State of the Art from Medieval to (Post-) Colonial Studies (with Tijana Krstic)
  • MA Thesis Planning Seminar
  • MA Thesis Prospectus Workshop


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