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Jan Lucassen (1947) studied history at Leiden University (BA 1970, MA 1973 cum laude in social and economic history, minors in sociology / development economics, and agricultural history at Wageningen University) and Utrecht University (PhD 1984 cum laude). He taught history at a teacher training college in The Hague (1972-1974) and at the Universities of Utrecht (1972-1984, 1985-1988), Hull (GB, 1984-1985), and the Free University of Amsterdam (1990-2012).
In 1988 he joined the IISH where until ultimo 2000 he acted as Research Director, and since he is Senior Research Fellow and from his retirement in 2012 Honorary Fellow.
From 1990 until his mandatory retirement in 2012 he was professor of 'International and comparative social history' at the Free University in Amsterdam. Between 1993 and now he supervised 20 Phd-theses.
In 2004 he became an ordinary member of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences. On the occasion of his retirement in 2012 he was offered a Festschrift: Marcel van der Linden & Leo Lucassen (Eds.), Working on Labor. Essays in Honor of Jan Lucassen (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2012, 433 pp.)
In the past he has been president, member and advisor of a number of academic organizations and editorial boards. From 2016 he has acted as president of the following Foundations, all based in Amsterdam: International Institute of Social History (until March 2020), Netherlands Economic History Archives and Unger-van Brero Fonds (until June 2023).
His main research interests are comparative global labour history, including labour migrations, craftsmen's and journeymen's guilds, labour relations and the monetization of remunerations. His empirical research concerns Europe and India.