23 Feb. 2024 — 12:00 noon — GAR 4.100

Volodymyr Kulikov (UT– Slavic and Eurasian Studies)

“In the Service of Resources: Extractive Company Towns across Twentieth-Century Political Regimes”

Company towns are a historical phenomenon that particularly thrived during the era of industrial capitalism. These towns were typically established to ensure a sufficient workforce for extracting and processing natural resources. While predatory extraction of natural resources is often associated with capitalist enterprises, in terms of appetite for natural resources, socialist enterprises were comparable to their capitalist counterparts. The paper will focus on Ukrainian coal company towns and incorporate examples from the United States and China to provide a broader, comparative view. The argument is that the extractive model employed in company towns demonstrated striking similarities across different geographical regions, transcending various political systems. Additionally, the paper will examine the impact of coal extraction on the political institutions, enterprises, and communities involved in natural resource extraction.


Volodymyr Kulikov is a visiting assistant professor at the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining UT, he taught at universities in Austria, Hungary, and Ukraine. His major works focus on the history of businesses, natural resources, and industrialization in the Russian Empire and Ukraine. He is working on a book project, “Forging Industrial Capitalism in Eastern Ukraine, 1870–1917: The Role of Company Towns,” to be published by Routledge.