In 2017 famine struck yet again. While famine continues to haunt many fragile countries, the paper reveals a faltering scholarly interest in famine research, particularly within the research tradition of development studies. Today, the research field is rather dominated by the research traditions of history and economics. Interestingly, the steepest decline in scholarly attention to famine coincided with Amartya Sen being awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 in part for his work on famine. The paper points to three characteristics of famine research that might account for this rather puzzling development: (i) the field of contemporary famine research exhibits limited interest in theory-building; (ii) the field is impeded by inaccessibility to key research sites; and (iii) the field is weakened by a small and dispersed research community. The paper suggests remedies that might address these obstacles to contemporary famine research in development studies. To facilitate more theoretical development, scholars could engage with the recent call for a criminalisation of famine, and the broader field of disaster research could be used as an institutional catalyst for scholars of famine.