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Books for Review

The Hague Journal of Diplomacy regularly publishes book reviews of approx. 800-1000 words. We are accepting reviews of the selected books below, as well as any other contribution within the field of diplomacy and global affairs.

If you are interested in writing a book review, please contact our editors Constance Ducombe and Sophie Vériter to obtain a copy and for further information.

To read our published book reviews, click here.


Diplomatic Studies

Book cover: Global Diplomacy and International Society
Global Diplomacy and International Society
Yolanda Kemp Spies
Palgrave Macmillan

This book is a comprehensive overview of the theory, history, law, institutional framework and culture of global diplomacy. It reflects on the key existential challenges to the institution and addresses aspects that are often overlooked in diplomatic studies: inter alia diplomatic law, development-driven diplomacy and the bureaucracy of diplomatic practice. All chapters are extensively illustrated with recent case examples from across the world. Special emphasis is placed on incorporating perspectives from Africa and other developing regions in the Global South, so as to balance the Eurocentrism of traditional diplomatic literature.

Book cover: Consuls and Captives
Consuls and Captives: Dutch-North African Diplomacy in the Early Modern Mediterranean
Erica Heinsen-Roach
Boydell & Brewer

This work offers a new perspective on the history of diplomacy in the western Mediterranean, examining how piracy and captivity at sea forced Protestant states from northwest Europe to develop complex relationships with Islamic North Africa. Tracing how Dutch diplomats and North African officials negotiated the liberation of Dutch sailors enslaved in the Maghrib, author Erica Heinsen-Roach argues that captivity and redemption helped shape (rather than undermine) a new diplomatic order in the western Mediterranean.

Diplomatic Tenses: A social evolutionary perspective on diplomacy
Iver B. Neumann
Manchester University Press

Offering an alternative and a complement to existing histories of diplomacy, this book discusses change in the form of 'tipping points', which it understands as the culmination of long-term trends. Part I discusses social evolution on the general level of institutions. It argues that in cases where a diplomatic institution's tipping points are defined by the types of entities that make it up, the consular institution has evolved from concerning polities of independent traders to becoming ever more of a state concern. Part II challenges the existing literature's treatment of diplomacy as an elite, textual affair. It lays the groundwork for studying visual diplomacy and observes that the increasingly marginal vision of diplomacy as a confrontation between good and evil survives in popular culture. The book concludes by identifying the future of diplomacy as a struggle between state-to-state based diplomacy and diplomacy as networked global governance.

Global South Perspectives on Diplomacy
Yolanda Kemp Spies
Palgrave Macmillan

This volume is a comprehensive overview of the various methods used in contemporary diplomatic practice. It incorporates the traditional modes of diplomacy and explains how these modes have evolved to deal with a burgeoning international community of state and non-state actors, the information and communications revolution and the changing profile of global conflict. The pursuit of “development diplomacy” is an integral part of the project, with due attention to the fault-lines, microcosms of power-politics and rapid evolution within the society of states that make up the Global South. All chapters are extensively illustrated with recent case examples from across the world.


Feminist Lenses on Global Affairs

The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide
Valerie M. Hudson, Donna Lee Bowen, and Perpetua Lynne Nielsen
Columbia University Press

Global history records an astonishing variety of forms of social organization. Yet almost universally, males subordinate females. How does the relationship between men and women shape the wider political order? The First Political Order is a groundbreaking demonstration that the persistent and systematic subordination of women underlies all other institutions, with wide-ranging implications for global security and development.

Gender, Sexuality, and Intelligence Studies: The Spy in the Closet
Mary Manjikan
Palgrave Macmillan

This is the first work to engage with intelligence studies through the lens of queer theory. Adding to the literature in critical intelligence studies and critical international relations theory, this work considers the ways in which both the spy, and the activities of espionage can be viewed as queer. Part One argues that the spy plays a role which represents a third path between the hard power of the military and the soft power of diplomacy. Part Two shows how the intelligence community plays a key role in enabling leaders of democracies to conduct covert activities running counter to that mission and ideology, in this way allowing a leader to have two foreign policies—an overt, public policy and a second, closeted, queer foreign policy.

Women as Foreign Policy Leaders: National Security and Gender Politics in Superpower America
Sylvia Bashevkin
Oxford University Press

What is known about women’s participation as decision-makers in international affairs? Is it fair to assume, as many observers do, that female elites will mirror the relatively pacifist preferences of women in the general public as well as the claims of progressive feminist movements? By focusing on women’s presence in senior national security positions in the American political executive, Women as Foreign Policy Leaders offers among the first systematic responses to these questions.

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