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Carolina Seminar • “Actually-Existing” Integration – Dąbrowa Górnicza and the Construction of Huta Katowice, 1971-1979
January 24, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Nicholas Levy is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Stanford University, focusing primarily on the history of the Soviet Union and the former socialist bloc. His dissertation project is tentatively titled “Over-Developed Socialism? Growing Industrial Cities in the Era of Deindustrialization.” The study explores socio-economic transformation and urban life in three interconnected, mid-sized cities across two decades from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s.
More than any other Soviet-Polish investment project of the 1970s, the giant steel mill Huta Katowice was an attempt to transform international socialist economic development and bind the ‘fraternal nations’ together. At the forested outskirts of Dąbrowa Górnicza, a city in the same historic industrial region at the edge of Silesia where reform-oriented Polish leader Edward Gierek had been born, Huta Katowice was to revolutionize Poland’s export potential both inside the socialist camp and on the global market. Combining a tremendous gamble on cheap Western credit with reliance on underpriced Soviet inputs in intra-bloc trade, the project also pulled a new, unprecedentedly urbanized generation of young Poles to the site. Part of a dissertation about three interconnected nodes of Eastern Bloc industrial development, the chapter for this presentation focuses on the localized experience, potential, and problems of Dąbrowa Górnicza’s rapid transformation.