Conference "Deindustrialization and Reindustrialization Re-Connected. Comparing Developments in the Global South and the Global North from the 1970s to the Present Day"

In the western world and in post-communist Europe, the history of deindustrialization is typically told as a story of decline in heavy industry activity. However, the global industrial output has roughly doubled between 1989 and 2019 - mostly due to the emergence of new production and manufacturing hubs in China and the global South. Hence, on a global level, deindustrialization is intimately woven into processes of industrialization. This is also true for some old heartlands of the heavy industry, where production has been preserved and even developed. This process is likely to continue due to the crisis of globalization and the increasing awareness of its ecological side effects. The conference will bring together historians and social scientists from all over the world to discuss the past, the possible futures, and the broader meaning of industrial production in the contemporary global context.

The preliminary program can be downloaded here.


Wednesday /// 31.05.2023

Venue: Room 2R-EG-07, Institute for Eastern European History, Spitalgasse 2, Campus of the University of Vienna, Hof 3.2.

17:00-17:30 Welcome & Opening
Prof. Ulf Brunnbauer, Prof. Stefan Berger, Prof. Philipp Ther

17:30 Keynote presentations
Prof. Joanna Wawrzyniak (University of Warsaw)
“Memory Perspectives on Industrial Transformation(s) in Eastern Europe”

Prof. Lachlan MacKinnon (Cape Breton University)
“Rethinking the Periphery: Deindustrialization in the Global North and South”

19:30 Conference dinner


Thursday /// 01.06.2023

Venue: AK Bildungszentrum, Theresianumgasse 16-18, 1040 Vienna.

09:00-12:00 Panel I: Political Economy & Legitimation
Moderation: Dr. János Kovács (RECET)

Alyssa May Kuchinski (Duke University): “The Fantus Company’s Influence on German and Japanese Auto Manufacturing Plants”

Prof. Vera Scepanovic (Leiden University) & Dr. Imre Szabó (Central European University): “The Roots and Costs of Reindustrialization - Lessons from the Visegrad Countries”

10:20-10:40 Coffee break

Dr. Naveen Chander (University of Göttingen): “Divergent trajectories: A Study of Industrial restructuring in North-India (1980s-2000s)”

Dr. Thuc Linh Nguyen Vu (RECET, University of Vienna): “Framing Industrialization and Deindustrialization: The Long Đi Mi in the Vietnamese Press”

12:00 Lunch

13:30-15:45 Panel II: Workers’ Experiences
Moderation: Dr. Rosamund Johnston (RECET)

Dr. Agata Zysiak (RECET, University of Vienna): “Stories of Deindustrialization. Workers Narratives about Rupture, Adjustment, Continuity in Lodz and Detroit”

Rubén Vega (University of Oviedo) & Adj. Prof. Dr. Juliana Frassa (National University of La Plata/ National University Arturo Jauretche, Argentine): “Deindustrialization, Worker Resistance and Work Culture in the Shipbuilding Industry. A Comparative Analysis of Two Shipyards in Argentina and Spain”

Dr. Esperanza Rock Núñez (University of Chile) & Dr. Irene Díaz Martínez (University of Oviedo): “Cultural Representations in Lota-Chile and Asturias-Spain. Indigenism and Workerism in Post-Industrial Contexts”

15:45-16:15 Coffee break

16:15-18:00 Panel III: Revisiting the North-South Paradigm
Moderation: Dr. Veronika Pehe (Czech Academy of Sciences)

Dr. Max Trecker (GWZO Leipzig): “A Tale of Two Industries? The Intricate Relationship of the Soviet and Indian Steel Industry”

Dr. Indranil Chakroborty (Concordia University): “Beyond the National: The role of the Indian Steel Companies in reindustrializing the Global North”

Eliot Perrin (Concordia University): “Mining New Depths: Social Precarity Amidst a Mining Boom in Sudbury, Ontario”


Friday /// 02.06.2023

Venue: AK Bildungszentrum, Theresianumgasse 16-18, 1040 Vienna.


Panel IV: Global and Regional Comparisons
Moderation: Assoc. Prof. Lachlan MacKinnon (Cape Breton University)

Dr. Stefan Hördler (University of Göttingen): “Deindustrialization, transformation, and transnational impact of the steel crisis in West Germany and the USA in the 1980s”

Nicolas Arendt (University of Luxembourg/University of Vienna): “Between Extinction in Luxembourg and Resurrection in China. The History of the Three Belval Blast Furnaces after the Transformation of the Steel Site in the 1990s”

Dr. Anna Calori (RECET, University of Vienna): “The Steady Stream? De-Industrialization and Re-industrialization in the Petro-chemical Industry in Yugoslavia and Italy”

10:20-10:40 Coffee break

10:40-12:00 Panel V: Emotions of Industrial Transformation
Moderation: Prof. Joanna Wawrzyniak (University of Warsaw)

Prof. Dr. Joey Ann Fink (Highpoint University): “Warrior Jesus, the Christian Soldier, and the Working Man: Evangelical Christianity in the Industrialized Regions of the United States and Canada since the 1970s”

Dr. Nora Mariella Küttel (University of Halle): “Loss in Transformation: Labor, Place, and Identity in East German Shipyards”

Özge Kelekçi (Middle East Technical University) & Meral Akbaş (Middle East Technical University): “Searching “Here but Lost” Memories in an Emptied Landscape of a Factory in Turkey”

12:00-13:30 Lunch

13:30-14:30 Panel V: Emotions of Industrial Transformation (continuation)

Boris Komakhidze (Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University): “Visibility of the Deindustrialized City Landmark: Post-Socialist Transformation of the Liepaja’s Metallurgical Factory”

Prof. Tao Chen (Tong-Ji University), Foreign experts, Local protests, and Industrial Progress: Building Rolling Mills in Wuhan Steel Factory, 1973-1981.

14:30-15:00 Coffee break

15:00-16:30 Keynote presentation
Prof. Dr. Doris Fischer (University of Würzburg)
“Dual circulation, decoupling and dual use: Chinese policies‘ impact on Europe‘s de- and reindustrialization”


If you wish to take part in person as an external participant, please contact Irena Remestwenski (irena.remestwenski(at)


This conference is co-organised by Arbeiterkammer and the Institut für historische Sozialforschung

Stefan Berger, Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Ulf Brunnbauer, Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg

Philipp Ther, Research Center for the History of Transformations and East Central Europe, University of Vienna


In cooperation with:


Sponsored by:



Irena Remestwenski, managing director, RECET,