Unit One Calendar (Syllabus of Readings)

Week 1, Thur. 1/24: Introductory Description: What Happens When You Starve?

Discussion: Causes and Responses of Famine.
General Discussion of Course Material and Expectations.

Unit 1: The Theory of Famine in the Social Sciences

Beyond the natural causes of famine – flood, drought or excessive rain, blight, locusts and other animals – a variety of human factors interweave to create the conditions for starvation.  Scholars have long wrangled over the underlying causes of the perennial food shortages experienced virtually everywhere.  We will begin by examining the various theories and policy recommendations put forward from economists and political scientists as to how certain human endeavors shape the course, outcome and severity of food shortages.

Week 2, Mon. 1/28 – Demography: Malthus and his shadow.

Reading: Malthus, T. R. An Essay on the principle of population (Electric Book Co., 2001); 7-40, 45-54. Ebrary

Simon Gray, Gray versus Malthus, or, The principles of population and production investigated… (Longman, Orme, and co.: 1840), Preface, 1-46, (134-166).  Course Website

Week 2, Thurs. 1/31 – Capital: Smith and Ricardo

Reading: Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations, Ebrary
507-537: Discouragement of Agriculture after the Fall of Rome And the Rise and Progress of Cities.
686-714: Digression Concerning the Corn Trade and the Corn Laws

Ricardo, David, Essay on the Price of CornCourse Website


Week 3, Mon. 2/4 – Karl Marx!?!

Readings: Marx, Karl, Friedrich Engels, Capital a critique of political economy Ebrary
Volume I : 724-726: Modern Industry and Agriculture
755-9: Diminishing Productiveness with Working Day
902-929: Progressive Production of Industrial Reserve Army and Capitalistic Accumulation
1023-1048: Expropriation of the Agricultural Population from Land


Week 3, Thurs. 2/7 – Demography II: Malthus in the 20th Century

Reading: G. McNicoll, "Malthus for the twenty-first century" in Population and Development Review 24:2 (1998): 309-16.  JSTOR

Paul R. Ehrlich; Anne H. Ehrlich; Gretchen C. Daily, “Food Security, Population and Environment,” in Population and Development Review 19:1 (1993): 1-32. JSTOR

Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2 (Princeton University Press, 1996), chap. 4-7.  ONLINE

Joel E. Cohen How many people can the earth support? (New York ; London: Norton, 1995), 161-211; 356-66. On Reserve

J. A. Swaney, “Julian Simon versus the Ehrlichs: an institutionalist perspective,” in Journal of Economic Issues 25 (1991): 499-509. JSTOR


Week 4, Mon. 2/11 – Entitlements: Amrtya Sen

Reading: Sen, Amartya Kumar. Poverty and Famines: an Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981). EBRARY
Chapters 1-5: 9-51.
Chapter 10: pg 154-166.

And Briefly Survey One of the Following:
Chapter 6 (Bengal): 51-85.
Chapter 7 (Ethiopia): 86-112.
Chapter 8 (Sahel): 112-130.
Chapter 9 (Bangladesh): 131-153.


Week 4, Thurs. 2/14 – New Directions: Critics and Supporters of Entitlement

Reading: Rangasami, “Sen's Entitlement Theory, A Response,” (10 pages) Courses Main Page

Devereux, “Sen’s Entitlement Approach: Critiques and Counter-critiques” 16 pgs.

Seavoy, Ronald E. Subsistence and economic development. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2000): Chapter 1 “Definitions”: pg 1-31.  Ebrary

Edkins, Judith, Whose Hunger?: Concepts of Famine, Practices of Aid, 1-66. Ebrary


Saturday 2/16 – First Paper Due: Position Paper

Last modified: Monday, February 11, 2013, 2:59 PM