Randolph C. Head
Professor of History
Ph.D. University of Virginia, 1992

Areas of specialization: early modern Europe, early modern archives.

(951) 827-1875


Randy Head came to Riverside in 1992 with a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and an A.B. in anthropology from Harvard, along with six years of professional theater experience. His research investigates political and institutional culture in Switzerland and Europe around 1600 from various perspectives. 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 (Cambridge University Press, 1995) and a 2008 biography of Georg Jenatsch, an early seventeenth-century pastor, soldier, and politician who was assassinated in 1639 by a man dressed as a bear (Jenatsch’s Axe, University of Rochester Press, 2008). In 2013, he co-authored the Cambridge Concise History of Switzerland (Cambridge University Press), and he has edited several volumes of essays and a special issues of the journal Archival Science (2010). His research has garnered support from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, the American Philosophical Society, the Newberry Library, and the Herzog-August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. He has been engaged as a faculty member and administrator with UCR's Washington Center program (UCDC) since 2003, and served as Chair of the History department in 2010-2011 and again beginning in 2014. Professor Head's teaching interests include media technologies and knowledge systems through history, popular politics in early modern Europe, and early modern world history.


  • Specializations in religious difference and accommodation
  • History of Switzerland
  • History of archives


  • Professor of the Year, UC Riverside Honors Program, 1995-1996


  • Riverside Early Modern Seminar
  • UC World History Workshop
  • Zwingliana (Editorial Board)
  • Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (Council member, 2010-13)
  • Society for Reformation Research (Executive Committee member, 2009-12)


  • HIST 10
  • HIST 51
  • HISE 132
  • HISE 168F
  • HISE 169
  • HIST 202A
  • HIST 207A
  • HIST 240F
  • HIST 250
  • HIST 253AB