Jan Hennings

Senior Member

Contact information

Budapest, Nador u. 11
+36 1 327-3000 x 2632
Jan Hennings' work has focused on Russian-European diplomatic encounters in the early modern period. He is interested in the connections between ritual and politics in early modern societies, particularly in cross-cultural contexts. He has used the evolution of Russian diplomatic culture in the second half of the seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries as a basis for exploring how seemingly circumstantial aspects of diplomacy - ceremonial formalities, protocol, and etiquette - shaped foreign relations and how ritual impacted on concrete action in early modern political life. His current project shifts the focus to include diplomatic exchanges between the Russian and Ottoman empires, concentrating on the first Russian resident embassy in Constantinople at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Before moving to Budapest, he had held a Junior Research Fellowship at St John's College Oxford and taught history as a Visiting Assistant Professor and Gerda Henkel Fellow at Sabanci University in Istanbul. At CEU, he offers courses centred 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 also coordinates CEU's Early Modern Studies consortium.

Jan Hennings would welcome enquiries from prospective students interested in working on research topics in:

  • Early modern Europe
  • Muscovy and Imperial Russia
  • History of diplomacy and international relations
  • Russian-Ottoman relations
  • Travel literature and cultural encounter

MA theses completed by students who have worked with Jan as supervisor or co-supervisor include:

  • 'Ceremonial Representation in Cross-Confessional Diplomacy: The Ottoman Embassy of a Christian Ambassador to Moscow in 1621', Maria Telegina
  • 'Diplomatic Intermediaries During Rákóczi’s War of Independence, 1703–1711', Ewelina Sikora
  • 'Official Physicians Within the Medical Landscape of the Russian Empire (1760s)', Kateryna Pasichnyk
  • 'The Temperance Movement: Alcohol and Politics in Fin-de-Siècle Russia', Anna Smelova
  • 'Mapping a City in Motion: European Visitors' Perceptions of Edirne During the Reign of Mehmet IV', Nicholas Crummey
  • 'The Ottoman Empire and Russian Tsardom in the Early Modern Period: Changing Perceptions and Sources of Information', Mazi Muhammet (current)
  • 'Muscovite Diplomacy and the 1682 Moscow Uprising', Konstantin Meftakhudinov

Doctoral supervision

'Table Set for Diplomats: Food, Drink, and Politics in Polish-Lithuanian Diplomatic Relations, 1674–1696', Ewelina Sikora (current)

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 (together with Tijana Krstic)
  • Grand Debates in Russian and Eurasian History (together with Charles Shaw)
  • Interdisciplinary Methods of Comparative History

Academic Employment

Associate Professor, Central European History, Department of History, 2017-

Assistant Professor, Central European University, Department of History, 2016-17

Visiting Assistant Professor and Gerda Henkel Fellow, Sabanci University, FASS (History), 2014-15

Junior Research Fellow, St John's College, Oxford, 2009-13

Key Publications 


Russia and Courtly Europe: Ritual and the Culture of Diplomacy, 1648-1725New Studies in European History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Paperback edn. 2018).

Practices of Diplomacy in the Early Modern World c. 1410-1800Routledge Research in Early Modern History (London and New York: Routledge, 2017). Co-edited with T. Sowerby.


'Andrew Marvell in Russia: Secretaries, Rhetoric, and Public Diplomacy', Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (accepted/in press). Co-authored with E. Holberton.

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

Awards and Honours

ESSA 2017 Book Prize 'for most outstanding recent scholarly monograph on pre-modern Slavdom'. Awarded by the Early Slavic Studies Association | ASEEES for Russia and Courtly Europe.

Elected member of the Junge Akademie at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

Hedwig-Hintze-Preis. German Historical Association Dissertation Prize 2012

Fritz Theodor Epstein-Preis. German Association of Historians of Eastern European History Dissertation Prize 2012


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