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Famine in the Modern World

  • Bertrand Patenaude

Dr. Bertrand Patenaude is a professor at Stanford University and research fellow at the Hoover Institution. In this video, Dr. Patenaude provides an overview of the research into famines. He explains how the main causes of famine have shifted over time and why famines still exist despite the prosperity and technology in today's world. The video walks through the largest famines of the 20th century and this century and explains which areas are most susceptible to famine now. Dr. Patenaude ends with a reminder of why we should all care about famines and where famines are most likely to occur.

A free classroom-friendly discussion guide for this video is available for download below. The discussion guide contains a complete transcript of the video and is appropriate for advanced secondary students and university students. This discussion guide complements and expands upon Dr. Patendaude's video lecture. Students receive background on the topics covered in the lecture before viewing it. After viewing the video, students work in groups to research one of several famines and report what they learned to their classmates. The lesson ends with a short review of what students learned from the video and activities.

The video lecture and guide were made possible through the support of U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center funding (to Stanford’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies) under the auspices of Title VI, Section 602(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965.