The Global History Initiative hosted the 2022 Poverty & Scarcity in Global History Conference on February 3 & 4, in collaboration with the Poverty Research Network at the University of Glasgow.
The conference interrogated the interface between poverty, scarcity, and the field of global history through three broad areas: production, power, and affect. The conference addressed a number of questions: How is poverty produced through global processes, and how are questions of resources—animal, organic, and nonorganic— tied to the production of poverty and its concomitant scarcity?
Drawing from interdisciplinary vantage points and perspectives from both the premodern and the modern era, the conference worked to uncover the agentive roles that turn real or perceived scarcity into structural poverty. Presenters examined the important role that the material conditions of poverty, and socio-political fears and anxieties of poverty, have driven global history across interlocking temporal and spatial scales and how ideas about poverty and scarcity have shaped the emergence of global connections and processes.
The conference featured two keynote presentations, both of which are available to watch on the Department of History's YouTube Channel.
Dr. Candace Fujikane (University of Hawai’i at Mānoa) spoke to conceptualizations of abundance and scarcity within the context of contemporary Indigenous Hawaiian cultures in her lecture, "Mapping Indigenous Economies of Abundance against Capitalist Economies of Poverty and Scarcity."
Dr. Anya Zilberstein (Concordia University) examined the intertwined history of human and non-human welfare and food assistance in Britain in her lecture, "Poor Creatures: Food Aid for People and other Animals in the Eighteenth Century."
The conference was organized by Dr. Amitava Chowdhury, Dr. Swen Steinberg, Michael Borsk, Mike Ross (Global History Initiative) and Dr. Julia McClure (Poverty Research Network).