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dr. R.F.J. (Richard) Paping

Associate professor (with ius promovendi)
Profile picture of dr. R.F.J. (Richard) Paping

Richard Paping (Richardus Franciscus Johannes) was born 1962, February 20, in Ommen (Overijssel, the Netherlands)



Atheneum (VWO) b in Zwolle (Thomas a Kempis) 1974-1980.

Academic degrees:

-Economics (1980-1987) BA and MA, University of Groningen

-History (1982-1988) BA and MA, University of Groningen



-Research assistant Economic and Social History at the Faculty of Economics (University of Groningen) 1987-1991.

-Instructor Economic and Social History and Economy, Faculty of Economics (University of Groningen) 1991-1998 [ PhD 1995, professors Pim Kooij and Rainer Fremdling: English abstract].

-Freelance writer (mainly a biography on prof. H.C. van Hall). 1995-1996

-Postdoctoral researcher, Dutch Scientific organisation, 1996-1997, project labour strategies of families (with Ad Knotter, Jan Kok and Eric Vanhaute)

-(Senior) Lecturer Economic and Social History, Faculty of Arts, History department, Section Economic and Social History, 1997-2019

-Fellow of the Dutch N.W. Posthumus Institute for Economic and Social History, 1997-now

-Associate professor Economic and Social History, Faculty of Arts, History department, Section Economic and Social History, 2019-2022

 -Associate professor Economic and Social History with ius promovendi, Faculty of Arts, History department, Section Economic and Social History, 2022-now


-Programme coordinator Bachelor History, Faculty of Arts, from September 2019 -October 2022; July 2023 - December 2023

-Member of the personel fraction of the Faculty Council, from October 2022 - September 2023

-Programme coordinator Master History, Faculty of Arts, from September 2019 -October 2022

-Chair of the personel fraction of the Faculty Council, from September 2019 -October 2021

-Member workgroup New Task Division Model, Faculty of Arts, 2017-2018

-Subsitute member of the Board of the Posthumus Institute. Research School for Economic and Social History in the Netherlands and Flanders, 2012-now

-Member/secretary of the Admission Board of the History Department, 2012-now

-Member of the Board of the Vereniging voor Landbouwgeschiedenis VLG [Dutch society for Agricultural History], from 2014 until 2023; treasurer from 2016 until 2023.

-Secretary of the committee to write a self-study of the Bachelor and Master program History on account of the official renewal of the accreditation, 2011-2013 

-Member of the Education Advisory Council (FOO), Faculty of Arts, 2010-2019

-Secretary and Vice chair of the Board of the History Department, 2009-nov. 2014; Member, Aug. 2015 -Jan. 2016.

-Secretary of the section Economic and Social History, Faculty of Arts, 2003-2018

-Member and Secretary (2007-2009) of the Board of Examiners of the History Department 2005-2012

-Member of the 'taskgroup' Theoretical History, Faculty of Arts, 2003-2012

-Member of the 'taskgroup' Dutch History, Faculty of Arts, 2006-2012

-Organiser Colloquium Economic and Social History, University of Groningen, 2008-2010

-Secretary (1998-2004) and interim chair (2000-2002) of the History Department of the Drenthe Historical Association (DHV)

-Member and secretary (2000-2003) of the 'taskgroup' Economic and Social History, Faculty of Arts, 1997-2003

-Organiser two-section colloquium Economic and Social History, University of Groningen, 1997-2004

-Chair of the 'Commission for implementing the Bachelor Master structure in the History Program', Faculty of Arts, 2000-2002


Fields of interest


Characteristic is my broad interest in all possible aspects of economic and social history, especially I am interested in the life of ordinary people in the past. Both long term macro social and economic developments as industrialisation, population growth and economic growth, and very micro aspects of the living together of people attract my attention. Often the combination of both angles is very fruitful. My aim is it to explain historical developments as much as possible using general theoretical notions borrowed from the social sciences. However, I am aware that the historical past is mostly too difficult to become completely grasped by such notions.


My research fields are: regional history, rural history, agrarian history, demographic history, quantitative history, the development of the standard-of-living, poverty and poor-relief, social structure and social mobility in the 16th to 20th century. However, most of my research deals with the 18th and 19th century and with the northern part of the Netherlands, also due to the nearby availability of archives. 


Most important research projects 


-Life in a 'traditional' village in the period 1740-1850 in collaboration with Erwin Karel. With the assistance of some eight voluntary elderly from HOVO the life of all people who have lived in the small village of Oosterhesselen (Drenthe) are being investigated. By a near complete investigation of all possible sources we hope to get a deeper understandig of the life of common people in a small community (500 to 1000 inhabitants) in which is mostly depicted as one of the more traditional regions of the Netherlands, the sandy parts of the originally underpopulated province of Drenthe. Aspects to be reseached are: demography (births, marriages and deaths) , migration, social structure and social inequality, social mobility, poor-relief, religion, importance of money


-As a co-editor (together with Eric Vanhaute, Isabelle Devos, Thijs Lambrecht, Philippe Schofield, Carl-Johan Gadd and George Fertig) and as a writer I am involved the making of part 3 'Family, labour and income', of The Agrarion History of the North Sea Area. A new history of rural economy and society in North-West Europe, 5th-20th century. Together with Isabella Devos and Tijs Lambrechts I write the chapter on the Low Countries 1000-1750. Together with Erwin Karel and Eric Vanhaute I am also responsible for the writing of the chapter on the Low Countries 1750-2000. In line with this project I research the development of population and occupational structure in the Netherlands 1400-1850.


-Agrarian history on a micro level, with the help of farm accounts, from which I have collected several dozen for the province of Groningen (mostly 19th century). These farm accounts make it possible to estimate the development of agricultural production and of agricultural wages and prices. Also the detailed information give insight information on the mumber of days male and female agricultural labourers worked, and make it possible to say something about seasonal unemployment. By using personal information these data make it possible to say more about family strategies on labour conducted (se also my previous publications). 


-The development of the ownership and the use of land in the Marne (province of Groningen) from the 16th century until the 20th century. Villages: Kloosterburen, Wierhuizen, Leens, Warfhuizen, Wehe, Zuurdijk, Vierhuizen, Niekerk, Vliedorp, Ulrum and Hornhuizen (the last five I am still working on). Especially I have tried to reconstruct on a micro level which pieces of land were owned and used by whom for the period 1595-1830. This research is appended by a more general proposographical project on the families of the farmers in the Marne during the period 1591-1991 which also pivots on the way farms were transferred. An example offers the description of the history of part of the farms in Zuurdijk from the 15th century until about 1830.


-Social mobility and social structure in the Groningen clay area in the 18th and 19th century with the help of several proposographical databases, one relates to lifes of Roman-Catholics born between 1720 and 1810, another comprises the household structure in six municipalities in 1830 and 1850, and the lifes of people born in nine municipalities around 1830, 1850 and 1870.


International networks

-CORN (Comparative Rural History of the North Sea Area)

-WoG Historical Demography

-COST Action A34: Gender and Well-Being: Interactions between Work, Family and Public Policies

-COST Action A35: Programme for the Study of European Rural Societies

 -EHPS-Network: European Historical Populations Samples

Last modified:19 October 2023 4.02 p.m.