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This subject explains the physical and social drivers of famines and related crises in social-ecological systems, including the collapse of civilizations and violent conflicts seemingly triggered by scarcity of food, water, and arable land. It proposes theories that explain famines and crises of scarcity, and tests these with evidence and case studies. In this way the subject introduces key issues, concepts, and theories central to geography, development, environmental studies and environmental science. The subject is interdisciplinary, providing students with a broad range of knowledge and analytical tools. Specifically, the subject draws together science and social science, introducing students to multiple disciplinary knowledge and practices.
Intended learning outcomes
- Understand the causes of hunger and famine;
- Understand the patterns and processes that shape global environments:
- Understand the science of climate and food production that contributes to variations in food supply
- Understand how scarcity has contributed to the collapse of civilizations throughout history, and still influences contemporary societies
- Understand relations between population, environmental change and food supply;
- Understand the interactions between environmental and social dimensions of scarcity
- Understand how solutions to hunger are designed on the basis of particular theories about scarcity;
- Have developed skills in empirical and theoretical evaluation of theories of scarcity;
- Have gained a basic understanding of the discipline of geography and the interdisciplinary field of development studies.
Upon successful completion of this subject, students will:
• be capable of thinking critically and analytically
• be capable of testing theories with evidence;
• be capable of writing essays that weigh-up evidence concerning complex physical and social phenomena; and
• be capable of working in groups.
Last updated: 15 February 2024