Carving Doors: Tolerance, Cultural Exchange, and Diplomacy during the Great Northern War, 1700-1721


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project explains how a new definition of religious tolerance grew out of Baltic warfare in the first half of the eighteenth century. Arguing that statesmen and diplomats from Sweden, Russia, Poland, and beyond came to see the concept in intellectual rather than social terms, it investigates how this approach affected diplomatic negotiations and territorial disputes. Focusing on five confessional borderlands, it traces how the interplay among state actors, religious intermediaries, and transimperial subjects informed perceptions of self and other, and codified these perceptions in treaties. Rather than rooting tolerant state discourse solely in western Enlightenment philosophy, this project shows that the intellectual history of tolerance as a concept cannot be disentangled from the lived experiences and exchanges of early modern conflict.