Randolph Head’s research interests focus on political and institutional culture in Switzerland and Europe around 1600 from various perspectives, and he has published extensively on religious violence following the Protestant Reformation. He is currently working on a comparative study of early modern European archives, which includes cases from Amsterdam to Zurich and Lisbon to Vienna. His earlier work concentrated on political culture in Switzerland, including a monograph on Early Modern Democracy in the Grisons and a 2008 biography of Georg Jenatsch, an early 17th century pastor, soldier, and politician who was assassinated in 1639 by a man dressed as a bear.
On European Reformation
Head has published extensively on religious conflict and co-existence, particularly in Switzerland, after the Protestant Reformation of the early 1500s, whose quincentennial is approaching. He is the author of the chapter on the 16th century in the new “Geschichte Der Schweiz” (“History of Switzerland”) published by Schwabe in Basel in 2014.
Co-author of the recent “Cambridge Concise History of Switzerland,” as well as many articles and two books on various aspects of Swiss history before 1715. Head has addressed themes including the history of democracy in Switzerland, popular political culture, and the myth of William Tell, and specializes in the eastern canton of Graubünden (Grisons).
Head is an innovative scholar on the history of government archives in Europe (and globally), especially before 1800. His research, which casts a fresh light on changing knowledge technologies in the 21st century as well, has been funded by the American Philosophical Society, the Newberry Library, and has appeared in journals including the Journal of Modern History and Archival Science.