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Empire, Colonialism, and Famine in Comparative Historical Perspective: The Bengal, Irish, and Ukrainian Famines

HREC brought together experts on the Ukrainian, Bengal, and Irish famines and 20 early career scholars from institutions in Ukraine, Europe, India, and North America. 

Each year for the past four years, HREC has organized an international conference designed to engage scholars from a range of academic disciplines and to demonstrate the relevance of Holodomor studies to their fields. This year’s conference, Empire, Colonialism, and Famine in Comparative Historical Perspective, was held at the University of Toronto and St. Vladimir Institute on October 28-29, 2016. 

 

The conference brought together experts to examine differences and commonalities of the Irish, Bengal, and Ukrainian famines. With this conference, HREC framed the Holodomor within the context of empire and colonialism, concepts that elicit great interest in academia. 

 

Peter Gray, Director of the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s University Belfast and a leading scholar on the Irish famine, spoke on the question: “Was the Great Irish Famine a Colonial Famine?” Janam Mukherjee, author of Hungry Bengal: War, Famine and the End of Empire (Oxford University Press) spoke on “Famine in Bengal: Colonialism and Causality.” Liudmyla Hrynevych, Director of HREC-Ukraine, discussed “The Ukrainian Holodomor in the Context of Soviet Imperialism.” Comparative perspectives were provided by Professors Mark von Hagen, Arizona State University; Andrea Graziosi, Italian National Agency for the Evaluation of University and Research; and Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, emeritus Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights at Wilfrid Laurier University and author of State Food Crimes (Cambridge University Press). 

 

HREC provided grants of $800 to support attendance by 20 early career scholars, who came from as far as India, Ukraine, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, and locations throughout North America, including Oxford, Princeton, The New School for Social Research (NY), Queens University Belfast, Université de Montréal, and Kharkiv National University. Their interests include famine relief in colonial India, visual culture of the Irish famine, hunger in twentieth-century Ghana, and empire and public health in the Caribbean.

Presenters

  • Partner Empire, Colonialism, and Famine in Comparative Historical Perspective: The Bengal, Irish, and Ukrainian Famines 1

    Peter Gray

    - Acting Director of the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s University Belfast. His research specializes in the history of British-Irish relations c.1800-70, especially the political history of the Great Famine of 1845-50 and the politics of poverty and land in the nineteenth century.

  • Partner Empire, Colonialism, and Famine in Comparative Historical Perspective: The Bengal, Irish, and Ukrainian Famines 2

    Andrea Graziosi

    - a professor (on leave) at the Università di Napoli Federico II, an associate of the Centre d’études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre-européen (Paris), and a fellow of Harvard’s Ukrainian Research Institute and Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

  • Partner Empire, Colonialism, and Famine in Comparative Historical Perspective: The Bengal, Irish, and Ukrainian Famines 3

    Rhoda Howard-Hassmann

    - a former Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights at Wilfrid Laurier University. A leading scholar of human rights, she is the author of State Food Crimes (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

  • Partner Empire, Colonialism, and Famine in Comparative Historical Perspective: The Bengal, Irish, and Ukrainian Famines 4

    Liudmyla Hrynevych

    - the Director of the Holodomor Research and Education Centre in Kyiv, and Senior Scholar at the Institute of the History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

  • Partner Empire, Colonialism, and Famine in Comparative Historical Perspective: The Bengal, Irish, and Ukrainian Famines 5

    Janam Mukherjee

    - an Assistant Professor of History at Ryerson University. His book Hungry Bengal: War, Famine and the End of Empire (Oxford University Press, 2015) is a detailed socio-economic analysis of mid-twentieth century Bengal.

  • Partner Empire, Colonialism, and Famine in Comparative Historical Perspective: The Bengal, Irish, and Ukrainian Famines 6

    Mark von Hagen

    - a professor at Arizona State University and teaches Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian history. He was formerly at Columbia University. He has written on topics in historiography, civil-military relations, nationality politics and minority history, and cultural history.

Videos

  • Introductory Remarks, Empire Colonialism, and Famine in Comparative Historical Perspective
  • Was the Irish Famine a Colonial Famine?
  • The Ukrainian Holodomor in the Context of Soviet Imperialism
  • The Bengal Famine – Famine in Bengal: Colonialism and Causality
  • Roundtable: Towards a Research Agenda for Comparative History of Empire and Famine

Photos

Sponsors

- Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta)

 

- Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine (Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, University of Toronto