Participant Info

First Name
Jenny Leigh
Last Name
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Website URL
famine, NGOs, humanitarian aid, development, disaster relief, food supply, agriculture, Soviet Union, environmental history, history of technology
Additional Contact Information
based in Hong Kong (GMT +8)

Personal Info

About Me

I am writing a book about 20th Century famines and what they can teach us about 21st Century food security and disaster relief responses. I am especially interested in how emergency foods evolved, and also in how the science of industrial management revolutionized responses to famines. In 2016-2018 I received a $200,000 fellowship from the Carnegie Foundation in support of this research.

I am also an expert on Soviet agriculture and the long-term impacts of socialist agricultural and environmental policies. In 2014 I published a book with Yale University Press on this subject called Works in Progress: Plans and Realities on Soviet Farms, 1930-1963. It won the 2014 Henry A. Wallace award from the Agricultural History Society.

I am co-editor (with Tom Robertson) of a volume about the environmental legacy of international development projects. The book, entitled Transplanting Modernity,  is forthcoming from University of Pittsburgh Press. This project grew out of a workshop Tom and I held in 2015 that was supported by grant from the NSF.

Finally, as well as having a rewarding academic career, I have a hobby I am very devoted to–I help run Hong Kong’s finest independent English language bookshop, Bleak House Books. As a result, I know a lot about Hong Kong’s literary culture, its publishing industry and the ins and outs of running an indie bookshop on the doorstep of mainland China!

Recent Publications
Media Coverage
Country Focus
Soviet Union, Cambodia, Nigeria
Expertise by Geography
Russia, Southeast Asia
Expertise by Chronology
20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Economic History, Environment, Food History, Rural & Agrarian History, Science, Technology