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  • 05
    APR

    Public defence of doctoral thesis: The Ambassador's Letter: On the Less Than Nothing of Diplomacy

    Public defence of doctoral theis with Alexander Stagnell organised by the subject Rhetoric at the Department of Literature, Uppsala University and the School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University.

    Alexander Stagnell

    Doctoral thesis: The Ambassador's Letter: On the Less Than Nothing of Diplomacy

    Subject: Rhetoric
    Graduate school: Baltic and East European Graduate School (BEEGS), Södertörn University
    External reviewer: Frank Ruda, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK
    Language: English
     

    Summary

    The principal aim of this dissertation is to answer the question What is diplomacy? by employing Slavoj Žižek’s critique of ideology on the concept, the history, the science, and the artistic depiction of diplomacy. The work begins by extracting three recurring problems of diplomacy – the name, death, and representation – out of Hans Holbein’s painting The Ambassadors. On this follows a presentation of central concepts and theoretical perspectives derived from the work of Slavoj Žižek, focusing on his understanding of politics, ideology, and the core of the conceptual apparatus of Lacanian psychoanalysis. The dissertation is then divided into three parts treating diplomacy as archi-politics, ultra-politics, and post-politics, highlighting three eras of the modern history of diplomacy.

    The first part takes on the question of the creation of the name diplomacy during the French Revolution, and by reading Immanuel Kant’s pamphlet Perpetual Peace and Henry James’ novel The Ambassadors an understanding of the origins of diplomacy is presented. The second part begins with the effects on diplomacy arising from the horrors of the two world wars, something which is investigated through a reading of André Brink’s novel The Ambassador and International Relations theory from the middle of the last century. Finally, the third part covers another major shift in Western diplomacy during the last century, the fall of the Soviet Union, captured by, on the one hand, the field of Diplomacy Studies and, on the other, by Danish-journalist Mads Brügger’s film The Ambassador. The thesis argues that diplomacy constitutes an Ideological State Apparatus, meaning it offers a symbolic link destined to, through ideology, repress the fundamental inconsistencies of the modern nation-state in order to allow it to continue functioning. Diplomacy is, thus, the name that points to the impossibility of the state to become One with itself, and the thesis aims to show how that which must be excluded from this state always returns to haunt it.

    Time and place

    When: 05/04/19 at 14:00-17:00

    What: Public defence of thesis

    Where: Room MB 503, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Södertörn University

    Organiser: Rhetoric at the Department of Literature, Uppsala University and the School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University.

    Event language: English