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Famine, Entitlement and Inequality


Please come to class prepared to discuss the history of either the Irish Potato Famine or the Great Bengal Famine.

Explain Sen’s idea that famine is caused by ‘entitlement gap’, rather than a lack of food.

What does Thompson mean by a 'moral economy'?


BBC, 'The Irish Famine: From Crop Failure to Catastrophe',

Gray, Peter, 'Famine and Land, 1845-1880', Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish History, ed. Alvin Jackson (Oxford, 2014), 544-561. *

Ochoa, Enrique, 'Political Histories of Food', Oxford Handbooks Online. *

O’Gráda, Cormac, Famine: A Short History (Princeton, 2009), 159-194.*

Sen, Amartya, ‘Ingredients of Famine Analysis: Availability and Entitlements’, Quarterly Journal of Economics 96:3 (1981), 433-464.*

Sen, Amartya, ‘Starvation and Exchange Entitlements: A General Approach and its application to the Great Bengal famine’, Cambridge Journal of Economics 1:1 (1977), 33-59.*
Thompson, E.P., ‘The Moral Economy of an English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century’, Past & Present 50 (1971).*

*Sign into the Warwick Library catalogue to access the electronic version.

To Learn More

Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World (London, 2002).*

Gray, Peter, ‘Potatoes and Providence: British Government Responses to the Great Famine’, Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal 1:1 (1994), 75-90.

Gray, Peter, 'Famine and Land in Ireland and India, 1845-1880', Historical Journal 49:1 (2006), 193-215.*

Greenough, Paul Robert, Prosperity and Misery in Modern Bengal: The Famine of 1943-1944 (Oxford, 1982).

Daly, Mary, ‘Revisionism and Irish History: the Great Famine’, The Making of Modern Irish History, eds. D.G. Boyce and A. O’Day (London, 1996), 71-89.
Donnelly, James, ‘The Great Famine: its Interpreters, Old and New’, History of Ireland 3:1 (1993), 27-33.

Kinealy, Christine, A Death-Dealing Famine: The Great Hunger in Ireland (London, 1997).*

Messer, Ellen, 'Hunger and Famine Worldwide', The Handbook of Food Research, eds. Anne Murcott, Warren Belasco and Peter Jackson (London, 2013).
O’Grada, Cormac, The Great Irish Famine (Cambridge, 1995), 9-64.*

Sen, Amartya, Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (Oxford, 1982).*
Vernon, James, Hunger: A Modern History (Cambridge, 2007).*

*Sign into the Warwick Library catalogue to access the electronic version.