Malthus: Food, Land, People

20 June 2016 - 21 June 2016

CRASSH (SG1&2) and Jesus College

To book a place please use the online registration link on this page. The standard fee is £50 and £25.00 (students). This includes lunches/teas and coffees.

Convenors

Alison Bashford (University of Cambridge)
Shailaja Fennell (University of Cambridge)
Duncan Kelly (University of Cambridge)
David Nally (University of Cambridge)

Summary

Malthus: Food, Land, People is a two-day conference taking place at CRASSH and Jesus College, Cambridge.  A dinner will be held at Jesus College on Sunday 19 June 2016 to launch the conference and to welcome speakers and delegates to Cambridge.

2016 is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Robert Malthus (1766–1834), author of the most famous book on population ever written. Since its original publication in 1798, the Essay on the Principle of Population has never been out of print, nor has it been out of public discussion. This is not just because of Malthus’s thesis, but because the substance of his work touches so many critical issues in the human and natural sciences: good and bad government; equality and inequality; food and agriculture; demographies and human behavior; sex and gender; land and property; development trajectories and economic predictions, histories and futures.

This interdisciplinary conference will be the most substantial reassessment of Malthus, his ideas, and his global significance for several generations. Historians, economists, literary scholars, political theorists, geographers, demographers, and philosophers will share their views on Malthus and Malthusianism in and for his own centuries, and for ours, a century defined by accelerating public debate on environment, population, and food security. We aim to escape (although perhaps, if beneficial, to analyse) the bifurcated pro- and anti-Malthusian stances that have accumulated since 1798. We will ask different questions of Malthus and his famous text: What is the long history of development here? Was gender a key element for Malthus, and if so, what do the major changes in cultures of gender and sex mean for his thesis? How did and does the extra-European world figure? What philosophy of limits has governed changing assessment of Malthus? Does Malthus help us think through the connection between economy and ecology? How have and will different demographic structures in the past and present been mapped onto types of food production and patterns of rural development? What has the foregrounding of "climate" in recent years done to the principle of population? 

Sponsors

       

Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) and Jesus College at the University of Cambridge, the Economic History Society and the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.

Accommodation has been reserved at Jesus College for conference delegates, Cambridge – please click the registration button for further information.

 

Administrative assistance: conferences@crassh.cam.ac.uk

Sunday 19 June

From 2pm

Check in for guests at Porter's Lodge, Jesus College, Cambridge

6 - 7pm

Exhibition of Malthus's books and manuscripts

Quincentenary Library
Jesus College

7pm

Drinks Reception, Jesus College

Formal Dinner, Hall, Jesus College

Monday 20 June

8.30 - 9.00am

Registration and coffee

CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, Sidgwick Site

9.15am

Welcome

9.30 - 11am

Re-reading the Principle of Population

Chair: Peter Garnsey

 

Joyce Chaplin (Harvard)

T.R. Malthus’s Essay in new worlds: a reception history

 

Christopher Brooke (Cambridge)

Robert Malthus, rousseauiste?

 

Niall O’Flaherty (KCL)

The sources of Malthus’s cure for ‘the Disease of Poverty’: Smith, Paley and the Population Act

11 - 11.30am

Coffee break

11.30am - 12.30pm

Malthus, Slavery and Abolition

Alison Bashford (Cambridge)

Malthus and Abolition

 

Rebecca Flemming (Cambridge)

Slavery and population in the Roman world

12.30 - 1.30pm

Lunch

1.30 - 2.30pm

Malthus’s Economic Interlocutors (Chair, Geoff Harcourt)

Gareth Stedman Jones (Cambridge)

Malthus, nineteenth-century socialism and Marx

 

Duncan Kelly (Cambridge)

Malthus and Keynes 

2.30 - 3pm

Tea Break

3 - 4.30pm

Malthus, Limits and Constraints  (Chair, Simon Szreter)

Leigh Shaw-Taylor (Cambridge)

The escape from Malthusian constraints in England 1300-1900

 

Richard Smith (Cambridge)

Malthus and welfare revisited

 

Paul Warde (Cambridge)

The Earth in equipoise: Malthus’s vision of a planet fit for his purpose

5pm

Public Lecture
 

  • E A Wrigley (Cambridge)
    Malthus: A Man of his Time
6.30pm

Drinks Reception, Atrium CRASSH

Tuesday 21 June

8.30am

Coffee and pastries

Upper Hall, Jesus College

9 - 10.30am

Malthus & the politics of hunger

Nick Cullather (Indiana)

What is the Carrying Capacity of the Earth? The Green Revolution vs. Malthusianism

 

David Nally (Cambridge)

More food, fewer children: Malthusianism, philanthropy and the geopolitics  of ‘needs’ and ‘wants’

 

Shailaja Fennell (Cambridge)

The Green revolution and the Malthusian question: re-examining the political of agricultural policies in the incidence of hunger in India

10.30 - 11am

Break

11am - 12.30pm

New Fertilities

Sarah Franklin (Cambridge)

“Barren States”: IVF, ARTs and changing fertilities

 

Xiaoying Zheng (Peking)

Population Forecasts in China

 

Mohan Rao (JNU)

TBC

12.30 - 1.30pm

Lunch

1.30 - 2.30pm

Population, gender & agency

Nefissa Naguib (Oslo)

Malthus in the Arctic: Displacement, migration and gender

 

Alaka Basu (Cornell)

Why can’t laziness claim agency? The neo-malthusian streak in contemporary feminism

2.30 - 3pm

Break

3 - 4pm

Malthus in the Anthropocene

Fabien Locher (Paris)

Governing the Global Commons: ocean resources, Malthusian threat and world governance

 

Fredrik Albriton Jonsson (Chicago)

Planetary Malthus

4.30 - 6.30

Book Launch & Reception, Webb Library Jesus College

Alison Bashford and Joyce E. Chaplin, The New Worlds of Thomas Robert Malthus (Princeton University Press, 2016).

Launched by Professor Emma Rothschild

  • Alison Bashford (University of Cambridge)
  • Christopher Brooke (University of Cambridge)
  • Joyce Chaplin (Harvard University)
  • Nick Cullather (Indiana University)
  • Shailaja Fennell (University of Cambridge)
  • Rebecca Flemming (University of Cambridge)
  • Sarah Franklin (University of Cambridge)
  • Yang Haiyan (Peking University)
  • Fredrik Jonsson (University of Chicago)
  • Duncan Kelly (University of Cambridge)
  • Fabien Locher (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris)
  • Alaka Malwade-Basu (Cornell University)
  • Nefissa Naguib (University of Oslo)
  • David Nally (University of Cambridge)
  • Niall O’Flaherty (King’s College London)
  • Mohan Rao (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
  • Leigh Shaw-Taylor (University of Cambridge)
  • Richard Smith (University of Cambridge)
  • Gareth Stedman Jones (University of Cambridge)
  • Paul Warde (University of Cambridge)
  • Donald Winch (University of Sussex)
  • E.A. Wrigley (University of Cambridge)
  • Xiaoying Zheng (Peking University)