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Professor Tom Scott-Smith

As part of a series of ten podcasts with AHRC New Generation Thinkers, Tom Scott-Smith spoke with Helen Carr about the history of hunger relief, in an episode broadcast yesterday.

Tom and Helen discuss the history of famine relief and humanitarian aid, and how it has changed over time – the subject of Tom’s new book On an Empty Stomach: Two Hundred Years of Hunger Relief (Cornell University Press, 2020). Humanitarian aid is intensely political, and the form that humanitarian aid takes today is heavily influenced by its past. That form is important, because the type of aid that refugees receive has a big impact on their lives; the quality and quantity of food matters.

Tom talks about the role of nutritional science, showing how overproduction of milk, soy and corn in the 1930s has been responsible for the nutritional content of humanitarian food today. The liberation of Belsen is also discussed, and whether there is any truth to the story that those being liberated from Bergen-Belsen were more interested in getting their hands on lipstick, rather than food.

Available to listen to at: Or on Apple Podcasts 

Series details are available at: