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HIST 395: Famines in History

Will provide access to scholarly governmental and non-governmental resources for this class.


Famines are a historical development occurring throughout history in all global regions.  They can be influenced by natural factors such as drought, erosion, climatic change, environmental mismanagement, and political corruption, immorality, and incompetence.  They can also be used as  political weapons with genocidal impact as demonstrated in the 20th century in locales as varied as China, Ethiopia, and Ukraine.  Purdue Libraries have many resources on famines in history from commercial scholarly resources and from government information resources from multiple countries and international government organizations.  This Libguide hopes to introduce users to these resources and the multiple ways in which scholars and policymakers have interpreted famines and responded effectively or ineffectively to these events.

Examples of Library of Congress Subject searches you can use to find books in the Purdue Libraries online catalog on famines include:

A useful example of the problems in documenting human-caused famines is provided by this Ukranian Canadian website on the Holodomor or Stalin's famine in the Ukraine in the 1930s. Many journalists and governments ignored or downplayed the severity of this genocide for political reasons. One of these journalists was the New York Times Walter Duranty as described in Ronald Radosh. "The Mendacity of Walter Duranty." New Criterion, 30 (10)(June 2012): 87-90.