Call for Papers: Explaining Famines, Defining Responsibilities

RHN 80/2016 | Call

Organiser: COMPOT (transnational research project “Comprehending the Core by Peeling the Concepts: Analyzing Famines in their Historical Contexts”)
12–15 January 2017, Turku, Finland
Deadline for submissions: 31 October 2016

Workshop: Explaining Famines, Defining Responsibilities

The transnational research project "Comprehending the Core by Peeling the Concepts: Analyzing Famines in their Historical Contexts" (COMPOT) invites individual paper and session proposals for its forthcoming thematic workshop. This will be the second of three workshops, which form part of a research project funded by NOS-HS. The public keynote lecture will be delivered by prof. Gormac O’Grada, University College Dublin, Ireland.

Famines have been a recurring strain on humanity throughout history. Despite the remarkable scientific and technical progress of the modern age, the threat of famine has not been eradicated. While numerous famines have been thoroughly examined, scholars still encounter difficulties in understanding why some food crises turn into famines while others do not. Conditions in both scenarios can be quite similar – yet outcomes differ. Furthermore, some explanations of famines tend to focus on human actions or dereliction of duties which are characterised as direct or indirect causes of famines. One cannot deny the significance of the issue. However, this approach raises questions whether a focus on responsibilities of some individuals, institutions or social groups divert the analysis away from structural and environmental factors and  whether there are alternative approaches for explaining the incidence of famine.

The main goal of this workshop will be to discuss various environmental, social, economic, political or cultural factors, affecting the outbreak of famines and sub­sequent relief initiatives. A reason for choosing this theme is that explaining those factors which contribute to famine incidence appears to be one of the most challenging but also the most essential tasks for famine historians.

The project COMPOT concentrates on famines in Estonia, Finland, Iceland, India, Ireland and Sweden. However, the programme committee is inclined to consider famines in other countries as well. Cross-country comparisons are especially welcome. Famines of any time period and any geographical extent are eligible.

The accepted papers are to be distributed in advance, and oral presentations will be limited to 10–15 minutes. The project aims to publish a selection of papers after peer-reviewing. The language of papers and presentations is English.

The project will support the participants’ travel and accommodation. The workshop will be hosted by the School of History, Culture and Arts Studies at Turku University.

Individual paper proposals should include an abstract of 250–500 words and one-page CV. Session proposals should contain a session abstract of 250–500 words, abstracts of three or four papers along with brief CVs of their authors. All these documents should be submitted by 31 October 2016 to the chair of the programme committee, Timo Myllyntaus [email: timmyl@utu.fi], via email in Word or RTF format.