Monday, 14 July 2014

Patrick O'Sullivan, ed., The Meaning of the Famine, 1997

At the beginning of this year, 2014 - as part of tidying up projects - I put a lot of my earlier work on this free MediaFire cloud storage site...

It has to be a free site - there isn't a budget to do anything else.  It has worked well.

MediaFire gives me a simple download counter - this does not count people who read the texts online, without downloading.  But it is a measure.  And soon we will reach 2000 downloads since this project began, in January 2014.

MediaFire also offer a more complex statistics package, as part of the paid for, premium upgrade.  But...  there isn't a budget...

Pity really, because over the past weeks there has been an odd little anomaly in the download patterns.  Within a few weeks there have been some 200 downloads of one complete book, Patrick O'Sullivan, ed., The Meaning of the Famine, 1997, Volume 6 of The Irish World Wide.  An odd little glitch and difficult to explain.  Some sort of mad robot harvester? - the patterns do not fit.  A seminar group, somewhere, looking at the research literature on the Irish Famine? - the numbers look too big.

The book is in my thoughts because I am in the middle of writing a review article for Irish Historical Studies, about recent developments in the study of the Irish Diaspora, looking especially at the ways in which the Famine has become a central theme.  I need not go over here the problems I had bringing together a volume called The Meaning of the Famine, in 1997 - nor the criticism that my book has faced since then.

I recently read an article by Kathryn Edgerton-Tarpley - the historian of famine in China...

Article (Edgerton-Tarpley2013Tough) 
Edgerton-Tarpley, K. 
Tough Choices: Grappling with Famine in Qing China, the British Empire, and Beyond. 
Journal of World History, 2013, 24, 135 - 176

It is a comparative piece, which makes excellent use of my own chapter in The Meaning of the Famine (co-written with Richard Lucking) - my chapter made a good stab at unpacking the coded language of the British mandarin class.

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