The Project

Republican Secrets
Silence, Memory, and Collective Rule in the Early Modern Period

Research project led by Prof. Nadir Weber and funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation within the SNSF Eccellenza Programme.

Based at the Department of History at the University of Lucerne from September 2022 to January 2024 and at the Department of History at the University of Bern from February 2024 to August 2027.

The Project

How did early modern republics deal with secrets? This research project challenges the common dichotomy between pre-modern arcane rule and modern public democracy by focusing on the discourses and practices of political secrecy in territories under a collective government. It analyses the secrecy regimes established in the localities of the Swiss Confederation and other contemporary republics to discuss, protect, and store the public secrets (secreta publica). The project thus aims to contribute to a better understanding of the political culture of early modern republics, the transformation of the public sphere, and the origins of modern democratic institutions. With its focus on practices of concealment and the mnemonic aspects of secrecy, it also introduces new methodological approaches into the field of political history.


The project consists of three interlinked subprojects that examine different aspects of the topic in depth. The geographical focus of the sub-projects is on the early modern Corpus helveticum and its political and cultural entanglements. In two workshops and an international conference, the results of the sub-projects will be discussed in a broader European and transatlantic context.

  • All Post
  • "Archival Secrecy"
  • "Secret Councils"
  • Subprojects
  • Team
  • Uncategorized
    •   Back
    • Former Members
    • Current members
Debating Secrecy

Debating Secrecy The Swiss Republic in the European Context Subproject A investigates how the tension between secrecy and collective government…

Producing Public Secrets

Producing Public Secrets Secret Councils in the Swiss Republic In late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century, numerous consultative bodies known as ‘secret…

Accessing Past Secrets

Accessing Past Secrets Archival Practices in the Swiss Republics Early modern archives were sites of public as well as secret…

All Rights Reserved