Dear T2M Members,
We are already half way through the summer and I hope those of you in the Northern hemisphere are enjoying some vacation time! Summer is often a time for going to new places and trying out less routine forms of transport – perhaps you have been on a ferry or a sailboat, a long-distance bike ride or walking along a canal? Some of you may be taking trains, flying somewhere, or riding a new metro system. I, myself, have taken sailing lessons with my daughter on a lovely wooden boat from the 1940’s, called a 12 ½ Herreshoff, practicing sea navigation and learning some new knots! I’ve also been learning about the history of coastal Maine, where many schooners and “windjammers” were built in the nineteenth century, and traded with the West Indies, Latin America, and even Asia, reminding me of the global connections of even the most rural seeming and “peripheral” places. There are also many coastal islands here and another reminder of mobilities: the tiny island across from my house has a very old stone cistern and a history claiming that it was used as a hide out for the Underground Railway, helping people fleeing slavery on their way north towards Canada. Today the West Indies are present here in Maine not only via the H-2B visas that allow Jamaicans to work here during the summer months, but also the local town’s steel-pan band that has been teaching this Caribbean musical tradition for more than twenty-five years. What goes around comes around, as they say.
These summer pursuits and island histories remind me of the themes of our upcoming conference Mobile Utopia: Pasts, Presents and Futures, which we are very excited about holding in just over three months at Lancaster University, with our collaborators at Cemore and the Cosmobilities Network: What kinds of utopias do we dream of through becoming mobile or staying still? And how do utopias “mobilize” us in new ways, or perhaps give us moments of pause? We are delighted to say that we had more than 150 submissions for the conference, and our Program Committee have been hard at work organizing exciting sessions, a stimulating art exhibition, and a whole series of additional events including a PhD school just before the conference, a Mobile Utopia Experiment, and several day excursion options on the Sunday after the conference. If you have not yet registered and booked your travel and accommodation this is the time to do so! We remind you to visit the conference website for all of the information, registration, and booking: http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/t2mc2c/
In other news, this is a year for some T2M Executive Committee elections. Indeed, my term as President is coming to an end, and we would like to invite anyone interested to put their name forward. We are happy to have put T2M on a new footing of dynamic interaction with the mobilities research community, to have updated our website and membership systems, and to have built our interactions through new online platforms. We also hope you have been enjoying online access to our expanded journals, and the Mobility in History Blog now edited by Mike Bess. Please contact Martin Emmanuel, chair of our Elections Committee, if you would like to run (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You may also be interested to know about a few other upcoming international events. At the annual conference of the Society for the History of Technology, to be held in Philadelphia in late October, I have organized a panel on technologies of mobility featuring our colleagues Hans-Luidger Dienel, Mathieu Flonneau, Ruth Oldenziel, and Johan Schot. And in December I will be giving a keynote lecture on “Mobility Justice” at The Australian Sociological Association’s annual conference in Perth, which has as its theme this year “Belonging in a Mobile World” (https://conference.tasa.org.au). This also gives me the opportunity to be at the launch of the new Australian Mobilities Network (AusMob) on December 6-7, which will be based at University of Melbourne and coordinated by David Bissell.
We also would like to draw attention to the first School of Advanced Sciences in “Mobilities: Theory & Methods”, which is accepting applications from PhD students. To be held in São Paulo, 3-7 October 2017, at University of São Paulo, São Paulo (Brazil), Coordinated by Bianca Freire-Medeiros and Thiago Allis, with a great line up of international professors including some from T2M: Dhan Zunino Singh, Massimo Moraglio, Melina Piglia, Mimi Sheller, Monika Büscher, Noel Salazar, Paola Jirón Martinez, and Patricia Pinho. More info here: https://spmobilities.wixsite.com/2017. I also note my involvement in a new “applied” project known as the Urban Development and Mobility Institute (https://udminstitute.org), which will collaborate with cities and government organizations on evaluations of mobility projects.
So all in all, our research community continues to grow and spread to many parts of the world. Please continue to send us your news, publications, and events announcements. I would like to thank our Executive Committee for their ongoing work, and especially our Secretary Julia Hildebrand who has been a dynamo, keeping things together, and our Treasurer M. Luisa Sousa, who has been working diligently behind the scenes.
We look forward to seeing many of you in November at the Mobile Utopia conference!