HISTAGRA (Agrarian History and Rural Politics in the 19th and 20th Centuries) was configured as a Research Group in the Galician University System (SUG) in 2006, the result of the merging of two prior groups: "Politics and the Rural World" (with Professor Ramón Villares as Lead Researcher) and"Contemporary Agrarian History: Technology, Society and History", led by Professor Lourenzo Fernández Prieto (current Lead Researcher of HISTAGRA). Both research groups were attached to the Department of Contemporary and American History at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC). They grew out of a single research structure created in the early 1980s by Professor Ramón Villares, which carried out intense pioneering research in Galician and Spanish agrarian, political and social history. Its publications in the last three decades on topics such as liberal agrarian reform, environmental history, technological change in agriculture and rural construction of civil society have become reference points in Spanish agrarian historiography, with notable influence in other countries such as Portugal, Italy, France, Argentina and Costa Rica.
In 2006 HISTAGRA was recognized by the Xunta de Galicia as a Competitive Reference Group, one of the very few in humanities. There are currently 25 Research Groups with this ranking in the Galician University System. This honour was renewed for HISTAGRA in 2010 and again 2013, for a four-year period.
Currently, HISTAGRA is composed of 48 researchers, of which 27 are PhDs, 20 researchers in training and 1 Support Personnel. The Group has 6 predoctoral scholarships (from the state program FPI and FPU) and 4 postdoctoral contractors (program from the Xunta de Galicia).
HISTAGRA’s research is organised along four main lines of research, with their respective thematic subfields:
1: Environmental History and Forest History
-Landscapes, agroecology and management of territory and energy, in the history of contemporary rural societies
-Technological change and innovation systems: organic agriculture, green revolution and sustainability.
2: Technological change in agriculture
-Transformations in small-farm Atlantic agriculture: property, agrarian policy and the environment
- Technological change and innovation systems: Organic agriculture, green revolution and sustainability
3: The rural world: from liberalism to 1939
- Construction of citizenship and democratization in the contemporary rural world
- Political clientelism, liberalism and democracy
4: War, Francoism, transition and memory
- The rural world in the Franco period: politics, economy and social change
- History and memory of the 20th century. Memory policies
In all fields, a gender approach is introduced as a transversal axis, in relation to roles in production, the market and social and political mobilization. In the search to investigate the role of women, hidden in the sources and in history.
In 2011, with the administrative recognition and financing of the Xunta de Galicia, HISTAGRA formally established a trans-disciplinary research network (ReVolta) with other research groups from the USC and University of Vigo, involving disciplines such as Ecological Economics (GIEEAH - UdV), Agronomic Engineering (TE - BIO, COSMERUM, AGRONOMÍA - USC), Applied Economics (ECOAGRASOC-USC), Cultural Action (GALABRA - USC) and Economic History (GESPIC - USC). This network has been renewed for 2014-2015 and 2017-2019.