EXAM: The final exam consists of three essay questions, ones which involve integrating ideas from throughout the course. (Each of your three essays should be 500 words). You should cite facts from the readings which are relevant, but the most important thing is that you show that you have been giving effort and thought to the material so that you have a sense of the connections between the ideas and can articulate issues and arguments. Answer the questions clearly and directly, and do so in a way that shows that you have been thinking about the themes and lessons learned from the course.
As stated, you are to write three essays:
-the required one in SECTION 1, and
-your choice of 2 from the list of 4 in SECTION 2.
SECTION 1: Required essay:
There are many things to find on the Internet (along with the news media more broadly) that connect with the claims and themes we are dealing with in this course (for example, news coverage of present events and websites of organizations that concern themselves with these matters).
Write an essay in which you show the results of having explored the media or the web (things that you find outside of class that relate to the themes of the class).
In particular: Describe (and cite) and discuss at least two different such items. Explain and cite what you have found, and describe how it connects to, or how it is interesting in relation to, the themes (and readings) of the class.
Note, of course, that you will do better if you find (and helpfully explain) things which connect to our class in interesting and significant ways. And note that you should describe and comment on these things in ways that show that you are thinking about what you have learned in the class.
Again, as suggested above, you can focus more or less on one of the two following things: (i) articles in the news media, (ii) websites of organizations that deal with famine or world hunger somehow. (Whatever you cite should go beyond what we’ve explicitly covered in class (i.e., the assigned web readings don’t count).)
(Choose TWO of the following four questions to write essays on. Avoid significant overlap in the answers to your different questions. I don’t expect that this will be a problem, but if you find yourself writing the same thing you wrote in another essay, just refer to your other essay and use your space to elaborate further.)
(1) In the reading we did from Food rebellions!: Crisis and the hunger for justice, Holt-Gimenez & Patel make a number of important claims concerning the causes of world hunger and how we should understand this.
Write an essay in which you, first, describe their main points as clearly as you can, and also explain what is significant about them (in doing this, explain how their view compares with at least one other of our readings for the course).
Then consider the most important objection you can to either one of the central claims or their general line of thought, and give the best reply to this objection than you can. (It is very likely that this reply would be something that Holt-Gimenez & Patel either say or would say, but it is not necessary that this be so.)
(2) Write an essay on the topic of what kinds of actions or interventions we should focus on in addressing world hunger. (Note: the topic here involves looking more broadly than just famines per se.)
There are of course a wide variety of approaches we could take to intervening to prevent world hunger. Begin by listing several sorts of actions or interventions that could be carried out by governments, NGOs, international organizations, you – that is, by various groups and individuals. (These can include broad categories of approaches, and they can include specific actions or interventions. Just show that you are thinking about different things that can be done.)
Then choose which of these would be the best place to focus, and explain why.
Include in your discussion (it doesn’t have to be the main theme of your discussion, but include it) the question of whether we should focus on improving agricultural technology, or whether we should focus elsewhere.
(It’s tempting (and not incorrect) to say something like “we should use ALL these means to try to get the job done”. While that’s not unreasonable, don’t do that here: What I want you to do is think comparatively about different strategies and give reasons why one would be better than another. (It’s by doing this that you’ll be able to utilize insights from various parts of the course.)
(3) Explain and evaluate the thesis that prejudices (and, relatedly, a lack of real knowledge about others) have played a significant part in the causation of famines. This should include a discussion of how whether or not this is true is significant. Identify and discuss a variety of kinds of examples.
Is this true? If so, explain why or how. If not, explain why someone might claim this to be true, but explain why this claim is overblown or mistaken. How is this question significant? [This includes: significant for how we think about famines, and significant for how we think about causation (claims that such and such is the cause of something).]
(4) Write an essay in which you explain the difficulty faced by poor farmers in developing countries. What are the factors that make it difficult for such farmers to succeed in growing food and making a living? What are the factors that stand in the way of their making progress along these lines, and what are the factors that stand in the way of instituting good solutions for them? And why is this significant? Think broadly (about a variety of different kinds of factors, at different levels, including social, economic and political ones), and try to be as comprehensive as you can in this short space.
Utilize AT LEAST TWO of (i) Norton’s Hunger and Hope, (ii) Thompson’s From Field to Fork, and (iii) DeSchutter and Vanloqueren’s “The New Green Revolution”.