Famine in World History

Subject 131-274 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

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: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: 8.5 hours per week
Prerequisites: Usually 12.5 points of first-year history
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Prof Stephen Wheatcroft


Stephen Wheatcroft


Subject Overview: An examination of the changing nature of the food problem as societies develop and of the causes of famine, the nature of famine and of policies applied by the state to alleviate famine, and how all of these have changed over time. The subject considers the history of a number of the world's major famines from different times and in different locations including the Great European Famine of 1315, the Great Irish Famine of 1847, the Russian and Chinese Famines of their Great Leap periods (1927-33 and 1957-61, and the classical Bengal Famine of 1943 Particular emphasis is also placed on food problems during periods of war and on the continuing famines in Africa.
Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject should...
  • have a good understanding of the theories of the nature and famine why and when they occurred;
  • be able to analyse the nature of the factors, that contributed to famines and the consequences of these famines;
  • be able to make historically informed comparative assessments of the causation and consequences of famines.
Assessment: A primary source document analysis of 800 words 20% (due in the first half of semester), and two research essay of 1600 words each worth 40% (one due at the end of the mid semester break and the other at the end of semester). Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to be pass this subject.
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available at the beginning of semester
Breadth Options:

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

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: Students who successfully complete this subject should
  • demonstrate research skills through competent use of the library and other information sources
  • show critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument;
  • demonstrate an understanding of social, ethical and cultural context through the contextualisation of judgements, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities and by constructing an argument.

Formerly available as 131-235. Students who have successfully completed 131-235 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History
History Major

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