Famine in Historical Perspective

Subject HIST40031 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 1, Parkville - 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 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: 10 hours per week: total time commitment 120 hours
Prerequisites: Usually admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth-year honours in history (or in a relevant program) or enrolment in a relevant coursework Masters program
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 Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Prof Stephen Wheatcroft


Stephen Wheatcroft s.wheatcroft@unimelb.edu.au  
Subject Overview:

This seminar examines the changing food problems for society as societies develop, and of how these problems intensify and become recognised as famines. We study the nature of famine and the policies applied by the state to alleviate or avoid famine, and how these have changed over time. The seminar will consider 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 1954-61), and World War famines including the classical Bengal Famine of 1943. Particular attention will also be paid to modern world food problems caused by the threat of war, terrorism, global warming and continuing poverty in parts of Africa, South America and Asia.

  • be able to demonstrate a good understanding of the theories of the nature of famine and of why and when they occurred.
  • be able to analyse the factors that contributed to famines and the consequence of famines.
  • be able to make historically informed comparative assessments of the causation and consequences of famine
Assessment: A class paper of 2000 words 40% (due during the semester) and a written researched essay of 3000 words 60% (due during the examination period).
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • demonstrate research skills through competent use of the library and other research information resources
  • show critical thinking and analysis, and an ability to determine the strength of argument through essay writing and seminar discussion
Related Course(s): Master of Arts in History (Advanced Seminars and Shorter Thesis)
Master of International Relations
Master of International Studies
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History

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