After the Digging
Alan Shapiro University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress PS3569.H338A69 1998 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
After the Digging provides an exceptional look at the early work of acclaimed poet Alan Shapiro. His first collection of poems allows readers to realize his strong sense of historical narrative and gives them reference on how to read his later poems. Inspired by his time at Stanford in the late seventies, the book is divided into two parts: the first is a sequence on the Irish Famine in the mid-nineteenth century; the second, a series on demonic possession in late seventeenth-century New England. These poems give voice to the pain and delusion of those from other periods and inevitably recall the many evils of our own century.
"Powerful. . . . That a young poet can handle this subject so well in a first book is . . . a pleasure in itself."—Robert von Hallberg, Contemporary Literature, 1981
In 1847, in the third year of Ireland's Great Famine and the thirteenth year of their rent strike against the Crown, hundreds of tenant farmers in Ballykilcline, County Roscommon, were evicted by the Queen's agents and shipped to New York. Mary Lee Dunn tells their story in this meticulously researched book. Using numerous Irish and U.S. sources and with descendants' help, she traces dozens of the evictees to Rutland, Vermont, as railroads and marble quarries transformed the local economy. She follows the immigrants up to 1870 and learns not only what happened to them but also what light American experience and records cast on their Irish "rebellion."
Dunn begins with Ireland's pre-Famine social and political landscape as context for the Ballykilcline strike. The tenants had rented earlier from the Mahons of Strokestown, whose former property now houses Ireland's Famine Museum. In 1847, landlord Denis Mahon evicted and sent nearly a thousand tenants to Quebec, where half died before or just after reaching the Grosse Ile quarantine station. Mahon was gunned down months later. His murder provoked an international controversy involving the Vatican. An early suspect in the case was a man from Ballykilcline.
In the United States, many of the immigrants resettled in clusters in several locations, including Vermont, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, and New York. In Vermont they found jobs in the marble quarries, but some of them lost their homes again in quarry labor actions after 1859. Others prospered in their new lives. A number of Ballykilcline families who stopped in Rutland later moved west; one had a son kidnapped by Indians in Minnesota. Readers who have Irish Famine roots will gain a sense of their own "back story" from this account of Ireland and the native Irish, and scholars in the field of immigration studies will find it particularly useful.
How people eat today is a record of food use through the ages—and not just the decadent, delicious foods but the less glamorous and often life-saving foods from periods of famine as well. In Famine Foods, Paul E. Minnis focuses on the myriad plants that have sustained human populations throughout the course of history, unveiling the those that people have consumed, and often still consume, to avoid starvation. For the first time, this book offers a fascinating overview of famine foods—how they are used, who uses them, and, perhaps most importantly, why they may be critical to sustain human life in the future.
In addition to a broader discussion of famine foods, Minnis includes fourteen short case studies that examine the use of alternative foods in human societies throughout the world, from hunter-gatherers to major nations. When environmental catastrophes, war, corrupt governments, annual hunger seasons, and radical agricultural policies have threatened to starve populations, cultural knowledge and memories of food shortages have been crucial to the survival of millions of people.Famine Foods dives deeply into the cultural contexts of famine food use, showing the curious, strange, and often unpleasant foods people have turned to in order to get by. There is not a single society or area of the world that is immune to severe food shortages, and gaining a deeper knowledge of famine foods will be relevant for the foreseeable future of humanity.
Mass starvation’s causes may seem simple and immediate: crop failure, poverty, outbreaks of violence, and poor governance. But famines are complex, and scholars cannot fully understand what causes them unless they look at their numerous social and environmental precursors over long arcs of history and over long distances. Famine in the Remaking examines the relationship between the reorganization of food systems and large-scale food crises through a comparative historical analysis of three famines: Hawaii in the 1820s, Madagascar in the 1920s, and Cambodia in the 1970s. This examination identifies the structural transformations—that is, changes to the relationships between producers and consumers—that make food systems more vulnerable to failure. Moving beyond the economic and political explanations for food crisis that have dominated the literature, Stian Rice emphasizes important socioecological interactions, developing a framework for crisis evolution that identifies two distinct temporal phases and five different types of causal mechanisms involved in food system failure. His framework contributes to current work in famine prevention and, animated by a commitment to social justice, offers the potential for early intervention in emerging food crises.
In modern times, Ethiopia has suffered three grievous famines, two of which—in 1973–74 and in 1984–85—caught the world's attention. It is often assumed that population increase drove Ethiopia's farmers to overexploit their environment and thus undermine the future of their own livelihoods, part of a larger global process of deforestation. In Farming and Famine, Donald E. Crummey explores and refutes these claims based on his research in Wallo province, an epicenter of both famines.
Crummey draws on photographs comparing identical landscapes in 1937 and 1997 as well as interviews with local farmers, among other sources. He reveals that forestation actually increased due to farmers' tree-planting initiatives. More broadly, he shows that, in the face of growing environmental stress, Ethiopian farmers have innovated and adapted. Yet the threat of famine remains because of constricted access to resources and erratic rainfall. To avoid future famines, Crummey suggests, Ethiopia's farmers must transform agricultural productivity, but they cannot achieve that on their own.
Contemporary depictions of famine and disaster are dominated by female images. The Feminization of Famine examines these representations, exploring, in particular, the literature arising from the Irish "Great Famine" of the 1840s and the Bengali famine of the 1940s. Kelleher illuminates recurring motifs: the prevalence of mother and child images, the scrutiny of women’s starved bodies, and the reliance on the female figure to express the largely "inexpressible" reality of famine. Questioning what gives these particularly feminine images their affective power and analyzing the responses they generate, this historical critique reveals striking parallels between these two "great" famines and current representations of similar natural disasters and catastrophes. Kelleher begins with a critical reading of the novels and short stories written about the Irish famine over the last 150 years, from the novels of William Carleton and Anthony Trollope to the writings of Liam O’Flaherty and John Banville. She then moves on to unveil a lesser-known body of literature—works written by women. This literature is read in the context of a rich variety of other sources, including eye-witness accounts, memoirs, journalistic accounts, and famine historiography. Concluding with a reading of the twentieth-century accounts of the famine in Bengal, this book reveals how gendered representations have played a crucial role in defining notions of famine.
Between 1845 and 1855, nearly 1.5 million Irish women, men, and children sailed to America to escape the Great Famine, triggered by successive years of potato blight. The famine and resulting emigration had a profound impact not only on the history of Ireland, but on that of England and North America as well. This volume of original essays commemorates the 150th anniversary of these epochal events and sheds new light on both the consequences of the famine and experience of the Irish in America.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, recognizes the individual’s right “to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care.” More than sixty years later, despite the rapid advancement of science and technology and the proliferation of humanitarian efforts, inadequate nutrition remains a major health and social problem worldwide. Food insecurity—chronic malnutrition, persistent hunger, even starvation—still afflicts more than one in seven of the world’s people. As Butterly and Shepherd show, hunger is not the result of inadequate resources and technologies; rather, its cause is a lack of political will to ensure that all people have access to the food to which they are entitled—food distributed safely, fairly, and equitably. Using a cross-disciplinary approach rooted in both medicine and social science to address this crucial issue, the authors provide in-depth coverage of the biology of human nutrition; malnutrition and associated health-related factors; political theories of inadequate nutrition and famine; historical-political behaviors that have led to famine in the past; and the current political behaviors that cause hunger and malnutrition to remain a major health problem today.
Millions of immigrants were drawn to American shores, not by the mythic streets paved with gold, but rather by its tables heaped with food. How they experienced the realities of America’s abundant food—its meat and white bread, its butter and cheese, fruits and vegetables, coffee and beer—reflected their earlier deprivations and shaped their ethnic practices in the new land.
Hungering for America tells the stories of three distinctive groups and their unique culinary dramas. Italian immigrants transformed the food of their upper classes and of sacred days into a generic “Italian” food that inspired community pride and cohesion. Irish immigrants, in contrast, loath to mimic the foodways of the Protestant British elite, diminished food as a marker of ethnicity. And East European Jews, who venerated food as the vital center around which family and religious practice gathered, found that dietary restrictions jarred with America’s boundless choices.
These tales, of immigrants in their old worlds and in the new, demonstrate the role of hunger in driving migration and the significance of food in cementing ethnic identity and community. Hasia Diner confirms the well-worn adage, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”
In Imagining Ethiopia, Sorenson examines Western mass media images of Ethiopia, placing them in the context of a larger discourse on the Third World. Sorenson shows how our image of Ethiopia has been developed by reporters and photographers who blamed the famine on African backwardness and ignored its historical and political causes, which include a colonial history, militarization, and the circumstances of Africa's integration into the world market.
The Prendergast Letters Collection, one of the noteworthy manuscript collections at Boston College's John J. Burns Library, provides an account of the experiences of an ordinary family in County Kerry, Ireland, from 1840 to 1850. The letters include myriad details of the lives of family members and neighbors, reports of weather, agriculture, and local events and economy, along with commentary on matters of national importance such as politician Daniel O'Connell's movement for the Repeal of the Act of Union.
Most important, the letters offer a rare contemporary, firsthand account of Ireland's an Gorta Mor, the Great Famine that began with the failure of the potato crop in 1845. Letters written in the months and years following the announcement of the first crop failure provide insight into not only the sufferings of one family but also the response of the community and nation as this crisis transformed Ireland.
James and Elizabeth Prendergast were the parents of six children. Their letters from Milltown, County Kerry, dictated to a scrivener, were posted to sons Thomas and Jeffrey and daughter Julia Riordan and her husband Cornelius, all of whom had emigrated in search of employment to Boston, Massachusetts—a city that would itself be transformed by the famine-era influx of Irish immigrants.
In addition to transcriptions of the forty-eight letters in the collection, this volume includes contextual essays by historian Ruth-Ann Harris and genealogist Marie Daly. The evidence of the letters themselves, along with the contributions of Harris and Daly, demonstrate the ways in which the family of James Prendergast was at once exceptional and typical.
Every year, millions of the rural poor suffer from predictable and preventable seasonal hunger. This hunger is less dramatic but no less damaging than the starvation associated with famines, wars and natural disasters. Seasons of Hunger explores why the world does not react to a crisis that we know will continue year after year.
Seasonal hunger is caused by annual cycles of shrinking food stocks, rising prices, and lack of income. This hidden hunger pushes millions of children to the brink of starvation every year, permanently stunting their physical and cognitive development, weakening their immune systems and opening the door for killer diseases. Action Against Hunger argue that ending seasonal hunger could save millions of young lives and is key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. This book documents seasonal hunger in four countries - India, Malawi, Mali and Myanmar - including personal stories and country-wide data which shows the magnitude of the problem.
The authors also find encouraging examples of interventions designed to address seasonality - initiatives led by governments, donors and NGOs, and poor people themselves - and propose a package of advocacy messages that could contribute to the global eradication of seasonal hunger. This book will be a valuable resource for journalists, policy makers, NGO members and students of development studies.
Robert Kindler's seminal work is a comprehensive and unsettling account of the Soviet campaign to forcefully sedentarize and collectivize the Kazakh clans. Viewing the nomadic life as unproductive, and their lands unused and untilled, Stalin and his inner circle pursued a campaign of violence and subjugation, rather than attempting any dialog or cultural assimilation. The results were catastrophic, as the conflict and an ensuing famine (1931-1933) caused the death of nearly one-third of the Kazakh population. Hundreds of thousands of nomads became refugees and a nomadic culture and social order were essentially destroyed in less than five years.
Kindler provides an in-depth analysis of Soviet rule, economic and political motivations, and the role of remote and local Soviet officials and Kazakhs during the crisis. This is the first English-language translation of an important and harrowing history, largely unknown to Western audiences prior to Kindler’s study.