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Conferences > Famine workshop 18-19 March 2009

Famine Workshop

MELBOURNE, MARCH 18th-19th, 2009

Held at Graduate House, University of Melbourne ( see Map )
Русский перевод

In order to view the papers from this conference, please email us on famines-history@unimelb.edu.au

Day One: Wednesday, March 18, 2009

  • 9:00-9:30 Introductions over coffee

  • 9:30-11:00 Session 1: Archives of Famine
    Chair: Cormac O’Grada, University College, Dublin
    Round table, introduced by Stephen Wheatcroft (Melbourne)
    How have new sources changed our understanding of the Irish and Great Leap famines?

    The Official Archive, and what it can tell us about famine
    The secret statistical record of the time and who had access to it; the secret nature of decision-making; Svodki (internal security reports) and popular attitudes

    The Unofficial Archive, and what it can tell us about famine
    The public record of the times & contemporary monitors; Eyewitness sources; After-the-event oral and literary sources

  • 11:00-11:30 Coffee break

  • 11:30-1:00 Session 2: China A
    Chair: Stephen Morgan, University of Nottingham
    Three papers:

    • Gao Wangling, Renmin University, China
      ‘Cause and coincidence in the Great Famine’
      (Download English , 中文русский
      Discussant: Tom Bernstein, Columbia University

    • Cao Shuji (with Liao Libao), Shanghai Jiaotong University, China
      ‘The Unified Grain Purchase System: A revolution in the Henan countyside’
      (Download English summary with tables , 中文 )
      Discussant: Stephen Wheatcroft, University of Melbourne

    • James Kung & Chen Shuo, Hong Kong UST
      ‘The Politics of Hunger: Sources and Variations of Political Radicalism during China’s Great Leap Famine’
      (Download English abstract )
      Discussant: Fred Teiwes, University of Sydney and Warren Sun, University of Monash

  • 1:00-2:30 Lunch

  • 2:30-4:00 Session 3: Ukraine and Russia
    Chair: John Barber, Cambridge University, UK
    Four papers:

    • Stanislav Kulchitskii, Institute of History, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Kiev, Ukraine
      ‘Three large Soviet famines: Comparative characteristics’
      Три советских голода: сравнительная характеристика
      (Download English with tablesрусский with tables)

    • Valerii Vassiliev, Institute of History, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Kiev, Ukraine
      ‘Famine years and famine in Vinnitsa Oblast [of Ukraine] in the 20th Century: An attempt at a comparative analysis’
      Голодовки и голод в Винницкой области: 20-40-е гг. ХХ ст.: попытка сравнительного анализа
      ( Download English , русский )

    • Viktor Kondrashin, University of Penza, Russia
      ‘Archival documents of the Volga and Southern Urals ZAGS (the civil registration system for births & deaths) on the famine of 1932-33 in Lower and Central Volga’
      Документы архивов ЗАГС Поволжья и Южного Урала о голоде 1932 – 1933 гг. в Нижне-Волжском и Средне-Волжском краях
      (Download English with tables and map and map notes, русский with accompanying tables and map, and further materials provided by Prof. Kondrashin )

    • Gennadi Kornilov, University of Ekaterinburg (in absentia)
      ‘The famine of 1932-33 in Urals Oblast’
      (Download русский )

    • Stephen Wheatcroft, University of Melbourne
      ‘Soviet Famines and Food Problems in Historical Perspective
      (and in comparison with the Chinese Great Leap Forward Famine)’
      (Download English, русский )

  • 3:30-4:00 Coffee break

  • 4:30-6:00 Session 4: General Discussion on leadership and bureaucracy arising out of papers
    Round table, introduced by Tom Bernstein (Columbia)
    Panel: Fred Teiwes (Sydney), Warren Sun (Monash), John Barber (Cambridge) and the workshop presenters

  • 7:30- Workshop dinner


Day Two: Thursday, March 19, 2009

9:00-9:30 Coffee

9:30-11:00 Session 5: Quantitative Methodologies
Chair: Cormac O’Grada, University College, Dublin
Round table, introduced by Anthony Garnaut (Melbourne)
Why do people collect statistics? Non-state statistical traditions (church records, lineage histories, gazetteers). Statistics of the 19th century European state. Totalitarian statistics.

Famine Demography
Famine demography between censuses; historical information encoded in later censuses (cohorts, gender ratios, mortality trends); famine natality and infant mortality as recorded in fertility surveys; nosology sources, starvation and contagious diseases; violent deaths and cannibalism; migration patterns; targeted groups (the poor, the old, young women, Catholics, kulaks)

Food production and consumption
The national grain balance; markets and prices; household food production and consumption surveys; other rural surveys; sources for information on caloric consumption; eating habits in good times and bads (ersatz foods); anthropometric data

11:00-11:30 Coffee Break

11:30-1:00 Session 6: Famines in the periphery
Chair: Justin Tighe, University of Melbourne
Four papers:

  • Niccolo Pianciola, University of Trento, Italy
    A “Modernization” Crisis? The Famine in Kazakhstan and the Soviet State, 1931-33 ( English )

  • Robert Kindler, Humbolt University, Germany
    ‘The History of the Kazakh famine as a history of violence’ ( English )

  • Sarah Cameron, Yale University, USA
    ‘The Kazakh Famine and Local Bureaucrats: A Reconstruction of the “Semipalatinsk Affair”’ ( English )

  • Felix Wemheuer, Vienna University, Austria/Harvard University, USA
    ‘Famine and Nationalism: Hunger and food in the propaganda war between Beijing and Dharamsala’ ( English )

1:00-2:30 Lunch

2:30-4:00 Session 7: China 2
Chair and introductory remarks: Stephen Morgan, University of Nottingham, UK

  • Sun Qi, University of Shanghai Jiatong, PRC
    ‘Grain from their mouths: Grain procurement prior to the Great Leap Forward’
    English powerpoint中文

  • Winnie Fung, Harvard University, USA
    ‘Intergenerational Effects of the 1959-61 China Famine’
    (Download English with slides )

  • Anthony Garnaut, University of Melbourne
    ‘Fertility histories of the Great Leap Famine’
    (Download English with charts )

  • Zhao Zhongwei, Australian National University
    ‘National trends in fertility and infant mortality in China, 1953-64’

4:00-4:30 Coffee Break

4:30-6:00 Session 8: Conclusions and future plans
The value of comparative studies
Where next?
Publications, future workshops, Utrecht +