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Conferences > Famine workshop June 2010

INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP/CONFERENCE ON FAMINES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY:
GREAT LEAP FAMINES AND FAMINES OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR

MELBOURNE, JUNE 8-11, 2010
Venue: The Sharwoord Room, Trinity College, University of Melbourne

Tuesday June 8 to Wednesday June 9, 2010
The Leap famines in the Soviet Union and China

Thursday, June 10, 2010
No program

Friday June 11, 2010
Famines and food crises of WWII and its aftermath

List of panelists and discussants
Lance Brennan (Flinders), Cai Yong (Chapel Hill), Cao Shuji (Shanghai), Chen Donglin (Beijing), Chen Yixin (Wilmington), John Cranfield (Guelph), Helen Dunstan (Sydney), Anthony Garnaut (Melbourne), Kris Inwood (Guelph), Viktor Kondrashin (Penza), Bertie Lumey (New York), Janet McCalman (Melbourne), Stephen Morgan (Nottingham), Cormac O Grada (Dublin), Ethan Sharygin (Philadelphia), Filip Slaveski (Melbourne), Warren Sun (Canberra), Frederick Teiwes (Sydney), Ralph Thaxton (Boston), Wang Baoning (Shanghai), Steven Welch (Melbourne), Felix Wemheuer (Vienna), Stephen Wheatcroft (Melbourne), Zhao Zhongwei (Canberra)

THE LEAP FAMINES IN THE SOVIET UNION AND CHINA

Tuesday June 8, 2010

  • 10:30-11:30 Assemble over coffee

  • 11:30-1:00 Session 1: Explanatory paradigms
    Chair: O Grada
    Stephen Wheatcroft: Explaining the similarities between the Chinese and Soviet Leap famines
    Felix Wemheuer: Comparing the Famines under Stalin and Mao: From the Communist Offensives to the Conquest of Hunger
    The Great Leap famines that afflicted both China and the Soviet Union shared many similarities, both coinciding with the implementation of forced development policies and collectivisation and even killing a similar proportion of the population. How should these famines be understood?

  • 1:00-2:00 Lunch

  • 2:00-3:30 Session 2: The Soviet Leap famine
    Chair: Wemheuer
    Viktor Kondrashin: The Great Soviet Famine in the Volga region
    Stephen Wheatcroft: The Soviet Leap famines
    The Soviet archives provide rich documentation of the famine that affected most regions of the Soviet Union in 1931-33, its various structural causes, and the specific political decisions made at different levels of the Party-state structure during 1932-1933 that to a significant degree determined which areas suffered the most. The famine is discussed here in light of these archival sources with special attention paid to Kiev and the Volga region, two of the worst-affected areas in the Ukraine and Russian Republic, respectively.

  • 3:30-4:00 Coffee

  • 4:00-5:30 Session 3: The Chinese Leap famine
    Chair:
    Anthony Garnaut: The geography of the Chinese Great Leap famine [Figures]
    Cao Shuji: The politics of the age of famine in Wuwei county
    Why did some regions experience a more severe famine than others? This panel looks at the influence on local experiences of famine of various political and economic factors, such as the political orientation of the local Party leadership and the status of the locality within the national grain collection system.

LEAP FAMINES IN THE SOVIET UNION AND CHINA CONTINUED

Wednesday June 9, 2010

  • 9:30-11:00 Session 4: State efforts to escape famine in China
    Chair: Mayo
    Helen Dunstan: Heirs of Yu the Great: Flood Relief in 1740s China
    Wang Baoning: Natural disasters and New World crops: The sweet potato in 1740s Shandong
    Chen Yixin: Famine, Diseases, and Public Health during China's Great Leap Forward
    This panel examines efforts of the imperial and socialist state to build local institutions such as granaries, seed banks and public health facilities, that might be able to resist or at least ameliorate the suffering caused by famine.

  • 11:00-11:30 Coffee

  • 11:30-1:00 Session 5: New light on the demographic impact of the Leap famines
    Chair: Cranfield
    Yong Cai: Excess Mortality during the China's Great Leap Forward Famine, a Revisit
    Zhao Zhongwei: The demographic impact of China's great famine: A closer examination
    Over the last decade, the range of estimates of the death toll of the Soviet Leap famine has narrowed considerably, but in the Chinese case the disputed range of estimates appears only to have widened. What are the sources of this apparent lack of clarity over the Chinese numbers? How does the apparent demographic impact of the famine square with the official public health record of the times?

  • 1:00-2:00 Lunch

  • 2:00-3:30 Session 6: Famine as biomedical history
    Chair: Inwood
    Bertie Lumey: Prenatal Famine and Adult Physical and Mental Health
    Ethan Sharygin: Impact of conditions in utero on later life health: exposure to Russian famine
    What are the long-term consequences of famine, especially upon those at sensitive biological stages of development at the time of the famine. Some research suggests, for example, that cohorts born during a famine are shorter than average, more prone to a range of diseases from heart failure to schizophrenia, and suffer socio-economic disadvantage.

  • 3:30-4:00 Coffee

  • 4:00-5:30 Session 7: The political consequences of the Leap famines
    Chair: Teiwes
    Chen Donglin: On several questions relating to the action of the State during the Great Famine
    It is one thing for a Leap famine to occur, and something else for it to recur. The Soviet experience of collectivisation was discussed within the CCP in the mid-1950s, and senior Party leaders agreed that they should learn from the Soviet 'mistakes'. What mistakes did they have in mind? Were senior CCP leaders aware that a massive famine had occurred in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s? It would appear they primarily were thinking of the policy mistakes criticised by Stalin in 'Dizziness with Success' and in his 'Short Course on the History of the CPSU', mistakes which the CCP would nevertheless commit. This panel will also examine how the Chinese Communist state retreated from the radical policies of the Great Leap Forward.

FAMINES AND FOOD CRISES OF WWII AND ITS AFTERMATH

Friday June 11, 2010