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«October 2019»

Fellow Seminar

07 March 2019

Dr. Volodymir Kulikov will give a talk on: "Images from the Social History of Company Towns in the Donbas" on 7 March 2019 (Thursday) at 16:30h.


The seminar will start with a brief presentation of the book Labour, Exhaustion, and Success: Company Towns of the Donbas published in 2018 in Lviv (in Ukrainian), followed by a discussion of the social history of industrial towns in the Donbas based on the analysis of photos taken there between 1890 and 1950. The photos of landscapes, work sites, households, work, and leisure activities testify about the construction of communities, social experiments, labor relations, and free time within the industrial settlements.

The initial thesis for the discussion is that a photo was a reflection and, at the same time, an instrument of modern changes. Various actors applied photography to achieve their goals such as to control, to entertain, or to construct a community. Some took photos at industrial settlements to criticize the effects of industrialization: hard work and the lack of basic infrastructure. Others used them to glorify industrial success, social harmony, the new social order, and prosperity. A critical analysis of the photographs and its social functions is a useful approach to understand better the rise and development of industrial society.

I will present examples of our visual sources and we will discuss questions like these:

A new district in the company town Kadievka, Luhansk Oblast of Eastern Ukraine, 1950
A new district in the company town Kadievka, Luhansk Oblast of Eastern Ukraine, 1950

1. What is the direct message of the photo? Who was the target audience for this image?
2. What else does the photo communicate, maybe unintentionally, about the people or the context?
3. What does it tell us about the Donbas society?

Volodymyr Kulikov is a historian, visiting faculty at Central European University in Budapest. He defended his kandydats'ka dissertation on "Peasant Economy in the Kharkiv Province of the Russian Empire (late nineteenth - early twentieth century)" at the Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine where he used to work as an associate professor until 2014. His has published numerous studies on the history of industrialization and entrepreneurship in Eastern Europe and on the history of company towns in Ukraine. He has taught courses on various historical subjects as well as on Digital Humanities at the Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukrainian Catholic University, and at Central European University.


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