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IMC 2016: Sessions

Session 116: Famine or Shortage, I: Words and Definitions

Monday 4 July 2016, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Medieval Association of Rural Studies
Organiser:Adam Franklin-Lyons, Department of History, Marlboro College, Vermont
Moderator/Chair:Marie D'Aguanno Ito, Department of History, American University, Washington, DC
Paper 116-aFamines: A Concept Too Many?
(Language: English)
Philip Slavin, School of History, University of Kent
Index terms: Economics - General, Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Social History
Paper 116-bIdentifying Famine in Medieval Sources: England in the Early 14th Century
(Language: English)
Phillipp R. Schofield, Department of History & Welsh History, Aberystwyth University
Index terms: Daily Life, Economics - General, Historiography - Medieval

This is the first of two panels presenting research on the difference between famine and food shortage. Scholars studying contemporary famine understand that it occurs with a wide range of severity. We should similarly be attuned to the different levels of severity in medieval food crises. It is also an important question how well medieval writers and thinkers understood this distinction. In this panel, the first paper looks at the use of terms like 'famine', 'shortage', and 'dearth' in historiography to asses how modern scholars deal with these differences. The second paper looks at how medieval writers used and understood the words at their disposal to describe the severity (or lack thereof) in a food crisis.