Famine: The Geography of Scarcity

Subject GEOG10001 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two 1 hour lectures and one 1 hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

3 contact hours per week.

Prerequisites: None
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/


Melbourne School of Land & Environment Student Centre
Ground Floor, Melbourne School of Land & Environment (building 142)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)
Email: 13MELB@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

This subject explains the physical and social drivers of famines and related crises in social-ecological systems, including the collapse of civilizations and violent conflicts seemingly triggered by scarcity of food, water, and arable land. It proposes theories that explain famines and crises of scarcity, and tests these with evidence and cases studies. In this way the subject introduces key issues, concepts and theories central to geography, development, and environmental studies.

  • • understand the causes of hunger and famine;
  • • Understand the science of climate and food production that contributes to variations in food supply
  • • Understand how scarcity has contributed to the collapse of civilizations throughout history, and still influences contemporary societies
  • • understand relations between population, environmental change and food supply;
  • • Understand the interactions between environmental and social dimensions of scarcity
  • • understand how solutions to hunger are designed on the basis of particular theories about scarcity;
  • • have developed skills in empirical and theoretical evaluation of theories of scarcity;
  • • have gained a basic understanding of the discipline of geography and the interdisciplinary field of development studies.

A 2-hour examination (worth 50%, in examination period), a 1500-word paper (worth 30%, due mid-semester), and tutorial exercises (worth 20%). Each component of assessment must be completed for a student to be able to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:


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:

Upon successful completion of this subject, students will:

• be capable of thinking critically and analytically

• be capable of testing theories with evidence;

• be capable of writing essays that weigh-up evidence concerning complex physical and social phenomena; and

• be capable of working in groups.


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 Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Development Studies
Development Studies Major
Environmental Geographies, Politics and Cultures major
Environmental Studies
Environments Discipline subjects
Geography Major
Science credit subjects* for pre-2008 BSc, BASc and combined degree science courses
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG. Core selective subjects for B-BMED.
Related Breadth Track(s): Understanding Disasters, Their Management and Planning
Feeding the World&'s Population

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