Famine in the Modern World

Subject 121-110 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two lectures and a 2-hour laboratory or practical class per week
Total Time Commitment: .
Prerequisites: .
Corequisites: .
Recommended Background Knowledge: .
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Dr Alan Thorold
Subject Overview:

This subject is an introduction to geography and development studies, and is a prerequisite for further study in both. It examines the problems of famine and hunger, and as it does so introduces key issues, concepts and theories central to geography and development studies. This subject is structured around an examination of two contrasting theories of famine. The 'Malthusian' theory argues that famine is a matter of the balance of population and environmental resources. Evidence is drawn together from demography, environmental change and degradation, and the environmental impact of the green revolution. The 'political economy' theory argues that famine is a matter of the distribution of food. Evidence is drawn together to explain differences in access to food within and between societies, including the implications of agribusiness and the global food trade and the effect of war on food supply. The subject also considers the ways in which aid, food, and development policies are informed by these theories. Students who complete the subject should be familiar with these theories and the causes, extent, and possible solutions to famine and food problems.

Assessment: A 2-hour examination (worth 40%, in examination period), a 500-word paper (worth 15%, due mid-semester), a second 500-word paper (worth 15%, due at the end of semester) and practical/ tutorial exercises (worth 30%).
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Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

  • Bachelor of Commerce
  • Bachelor of Environments
  • Bachelor of Music

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be capable of thinking critically;

  • be capable of testing of theories with evidence;

  • be capable of demographic analysis;

  • be capable of writing logical essays following standard formats;

  • be capable of working in groups.

Notes: Students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 degree and new degree), or a combined BSc course (except for the BA/BSc) will receive science credit for the completion of this subject.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Diploma in Arts (Development Studies)
Diploma in Arts (Environmental Studies)
Diploma in Arts (Geography)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Geography)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Anthropology and Development)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Geography)

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