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Food shortages, hunger and death in 11th to 13th century Catalonia: an alternative model of analysis for short-term crises


The research project that we are proposing aims to study the food crises (bad years, food shortages, dearths and famines) and the mortality crises which periodically afflicted Catalan medieval society between the early XIth century and the late XIIIth century. We will attempt to confirm, refute, redefine and perfect the historiographic models which have been constructed to explain their causes, mechanisms and interrelations. Using Catalonia as a laboratory of analysis and interpretation of the short term crises, in the words of E. Labrousse, and starting with a large variety of approaches , we propose: 1) to construct a chronology of the crises on a regional scale, determining as precisely as possible their geographic reach, periodicity, duration and relative severity also paying attention to the interrelations between food shortages and mortality crises and the relationship between regional crises and famines and epidemics which concomitantly effected the rest of Europe; 2) to consider the importance of distinct factors associated with food shortage (climatology, regional and international commerce in cereals, interconnection of urban markets, feudal wars and large international conflicts, accumulation of reserves or storage, speculation, etc.) in the unleashing, development and outcome of crises; 3) to gauge the consequences of famines and deaths on the economy, society and demography, both urban and rural; 4) to analyze the role of different social actors involved in the crises as well as the anticyclical policies implemented by the different spheres of power in order to insure the food supply of the kingdom and the cities; 5) to analyze the role played during the crises by charitable institutions, both ecclesiastic and private.

Call for proposal

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Placa victor siurana 1 1
25003 Lleida

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Este Cataluña Lleida
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Josep M Sentis Suñe (Mr.)
EU contribution
No data