Although our research covers many aspects of the broad fields of economic and social history, we focus on two strands that are strongly interconnected: regional history and the history of global population and health.
A focus on regional history has been central to the Groningen ESH group since its inception. Most of this research has focused on the history of the northern Dutch provinces of Groningen, Drenthe, and Friesland. Regional history is practiced in several forms, focusing on substantive economic and social developments of the region itself over the long durée (e.g. the transformation of a peat area in Friesland over centuries; the social stability of a Frisian middle class family over generations), or on for instance agricultural innovations (e.g. greenhouse horticulture) and the relationship between human and economic activity on the one hand and human's environment and resources on the other. We also examine socio-economic behavior in the Dutch north, such as social mobility and the biological standard of living.
History of global population and health
More recently, our research scope has widened by the inclusion of other areas in the Netherlands and Western Europe. Moreover, by adding research on regions in sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and South America, our reach has been expanded across continents. The thread that links these regions together is our focus on global population and health, which combines historical demography and the history of medicine and health. We look at long-run historical changes - with an emphasis on the 19th, 20th, and 21th centuries - aiming to understand contemporary health structures and shed light on how these lead to health inequalities from a historical perspective. Our work in global population and health is embedded in the History of Medicine and Health thematic profile of the Department of History and the Groningen Center for Health and Humanities (GCHH), the latter of which is one of the arms of the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health.
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