106 Dulles Hall, 230 West 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH, 43210
B.A. Stanford University Ph.D. Yale University
Randolph Roth is a professor of History and Sociology at Ohio State and a Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. He specializes in the history of the United States from colonial times to the present, with an emphasis on social and cultural history, the history of crime and violence, environmental history, the history of religion, quantitative methods, and social theory.
Professor Roth is the author of American Homicide (The Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 2009), which received the 2011 Michael J. Hindelang Award from American Society of Criminology for the outstanding contribution to criminology over the previous three years, and the 2010 Allan Sharlin Memorial Prize from the Social Science History Association for an outstanding book in social science history. American Homicide was also named one of the Outstanding Academic Books of 2010 by Choice. The book is an interregional, internationally comparative study of homicide in the United States from colonial times to the present. It examines patterns of marital murder, romance murder, and other kinds of murder among adults in an effort to understand how and why the United States has become the world’s most homicidal affluent society. It argues that homicides rates in the United States and elsewhere in the Western world "are not determined by proximate causes such as poverty, drugs, unemployment, alcohol, race, or ethnicity, but by factors...like the feelings that people have toward their government, the degree to which they identify with members of their own communities, and the opportunities they have to earn respect without resorting to violence."
In 1995, Professor Roth received the Clio Award for Distinguished Teaching in History from the Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society at Ohio State. In 2007, he received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Ohio Academy of History. And in 2009, he received the Ohio State University Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Professor Roth is currently completing Child Murder in America, a study of homicides of and by children from colonial times to the present. It will be a companion volume to American Homicide. Child Murder in America will argue that the causes of murders of children are quite different from the causes of murder among adults.
Professor Roth is co-founder and co-director of the Historical Violence Database. The HVD is a collaborative project to gather data on the history of violent crime and violent death (homicides, suicides, accidents, and casualties of war) from medieval times to the present. The web address for the Historical Violence Database is:
The HVD is supported by the Criminal Justice Research Center at Ohio State. It is described in “The Historical Violence Database: A Collaborative Research Project on the History of Violent Crime and Violent Death.” Historical Methods (2008) 41: 81-97. Co-authored with Douglas L. Eckberg, Cornelia Hughes Dayton, Kenneth Wheeler, James Watkinson, and Robb Haberman.
Professor Roth’s publications on crime and criminal justice include "Measuring Feelings and Beliefs that May Facilitate (or Deter) Homicide," Homicide Studies (forthcoming, 2012); "Biology and the Deep History of Homicide," British Journal of Criminology (2011); “Homicide Rates in the Nineteenth-Century West," with Douglas Eckberg and Michael Maltz, Western Historical Quarterly (2011); "Spousal Murder in Northern New England, 1791-1865," in Christine Daniels, ed., Over the Threshold: Intimate Violence in Early America, 1640-1865 (1999); "Child Murder in New England," Social Science History (2001); "Homicide in Early Modern England, 1549-1800: The Need for a Quantitative Synthesis," Crime, Histories, and Societies (2001); “Guns, Gun Culture, and Homicide: The Relationship between Firearms, the Uses of Firearms, and Interpersonal Violence in Early America,” William and Mary Quarterly (2002); and “Twin Evils? Slavery and Homicide in Early America,” in Steven Mintz and John Stauffer, eds., The Problem of Evil: Slavery, Freedom, and the Ambiguities of American Reform (University of Massachusetts Press, 2007). His methods essays include "Is History a Process? Nonlinearity, Revitalization Theory, and the Central Metaphor of Social Sciences History," Social Science History (1992); "Did Class Matter in American Politics? The Importance of Exploratory Data Analysis," Historical Methods (1998); and “Guns, Murder, and Probability: How Can We Decide Which Figures to Trust?” Reviews in American History (2007). His works on religion and reform include The Democratic Dilemma: Religion, Reform, and the Social Order in the Connecticut River Valley of Vermont, 1791-1850 (Cambridge University Press); and "The Other Masonic Outrage: The Death and Transfiguration of Joseph Burnham," Journal of the Early Republic (1994).
Professor Roth’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and other organizations. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, and of the editorial boards of Homicide Studies and of Crime, History, and Societies. He has served as member of the editorial board of Historical Methods and as the coordinator for the Methods and Theory Network of the Social Science History Association. He is an active member of the Social Science History Association, the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic, the Society for the Scientific Detection of Crime, and the Advisory Board of the Ohio Violent Death Reporting System.
History 151 American History to 1877
History 366.02 American Environmental History
History 375 The History of Crime and Criminal Justice in the United States
History 398 Introduction to Historical Thought
History 557.02 Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy
History 596 Quantitative Methods in History
History 598 Colloquium on the History of Violence in America
History 598 Research Seminar on the History of Violence in America
History 785 Readings in American History to 1877
History 786 Colloquium in the Philosophy of History, Historiography, and the Historian's Skills
History 867 Seminar in Early American History
History 868 Seminar in Nineteenth-Century American History