AAG, Boston April 15-19, 2008
Once heralded as a useful indicator of social and technical modernity, and now championed as a postmodern and sustainable alternative to fossil-fueled transport, cycling has had a significant historical impact on global societies and geographies since its inception in the1860s (Norcliffe 2001; Horton, Rosen and Cox 2007). Proclaimed the “freedom machine”(especially in its current off-road versions) the bicycle facilitates new geographies of personal travel; so much so that it was a significant factor in the improvement of public transit at the turn of the twentieth century (Armstrong and Nelles 1977).
The bicycle’s ubiquity in cities has made it an especially important agent of the public, and scholars have begun writing about bicycle flaneurie (Mackintosh and Norcliffe 2006; Oddy 2007) and the social meanings of mobile practice (Spinney 2007). Its early adoption by women marked an important step in the embourgeoisment of public spaces (Mackintosh 2007) and the feminization of the public sphere (Garvey 1995). Bicycle clubs and bicycle racing, while powerful manifestations of Victorian manhood (Mackintosh and Norcliffe 2007) were not restricted to men; women’s bicycle racing exemplified the capitalist influence on gendered conceptions of the bicycle and the unevenness of racing bymen and women (Simpson 2007).Bicycling further helped black Americans combat the racial iniquities of Jim Crow (Ritchie 1988). Working bicycles and tricycles, the “delivery vans” of the developing world, offer accessible, low-cost and energy-efficient local transportation, and are often better navigators of the congested mega-cities of the global South (Boal 2006). And rapid changes in global supply chains used to manufacture cycles may anticipate future restructuring of the world vehicle industry, with which it shares many common production characteristics.
Thus, the continuing historical, social, cultural, urban, political, economic and population geographies of the bicycle and tricycle,and their technological variations, demand further attention of geographers, and this organized session invites papers that take up the challenge.
Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words, before October 10, 2007, to one of the following organizers:
Phillip Gordon Mackintosh, Brock University firstname.lastname@example.org
Glen Norcliffe, York University email@example.com