HS1HAF-Hunger and Famines in History

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Rohan Deb Roy

Email: r.debroy@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module is optional for SINGLE HONOURS STUDENTS ONLY.

• To identify the most significant causes of famines across the modern world
• To examine the impacts of famines in different cultures and societies
• To interpret the diverse ways in which famines have been resisted in history
• To analyse how starvation has featured in protests, in fashion and in religious rituals
• To deduce how historical knowledge can be applied in tackling famines in the contemporary world
• To introduce students to the fields of global history and imperial history

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
• identify the sources of the topic in question
• trace its historical development
• be aware of differing historiographical interpretations of the pattern and causes of this development
• understand how ideas and events are shaped by their historical contexts
• organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing, both under timed conditions and in assessed essays
• demonstrate familiarity with bibliographical conventions and mastery of library skills.

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims:
• to encourage students to think independently
• to help students develop good oral and written communication skills
• to develop the effectiveness of students in group situations
• to develop IT skills through the use of relevant resources.

Outline content:
It is often shocking to realize that many people in the twenty first century continue to live without access to sufficient food and healthy water. Indeed, chronic hunger, malnourishment and famines are among the most serious problems that plague the contemporary world. These issues have attracted the attention of economists, journalists, policy makers, and international aid agencies. This seminar series situates contemporary food crisis in historical perspective. It explores certain critical moments in the history of hunger across different cultures. Most examples are drawn from the modern period although certain early modern and medieval case studies are also considered. In the process, it examines some of the causes of famines; the social and demographic impacts of famines; efforts of various governments and international organizations in providing relief; and the strategies adopted by people to negotiate and resist hunger. It also focuses on hunger strikes and ritual fasts to analyze why the refusal to eat has remained a persistent feature of political protests and religious practice. Ultimately this seminar series suggests ways in which insights of historians might inform policy makers in solving the problem of hunger in the contemporary world.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching is by eight two-hour seminars over one term. Students are reminded to email their tutors for help and advice whenever needed and to note office hours.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 16
Tutorials 10
Guided independent study 74
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Other information on summative assessment:
Written exam 50%:
one 1-hour unseen paper requiring 1 answer

Written assignment, including essay 50%:
1 essay of c. 2000 words, to be submitted once via Blackboard on Turnitin by latest 12 noon on the Monday of 11th week of each term.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    1 hour

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Where a re-sit is permitted, students will be assessed on the failed element(s) only in August. Any element(s) already passed will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Any element which is re-sat in August is capped at 40%. Failed coursework must be re-submitted by 12 noon, on the last Friday of August.

    Last updated: 22 September 2016

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