Presidents Letter December 2015
11 December 2015
Dear Members and Friends of T2M,
During this week of COP21 climate talks in Paris our thoughts turn to the history of transportation: how did we arrive at the current carbon-intensive system — in which at least one quarter of CO2emissions are attributed to transportation — and how might we transition out of it? Will this transition proceed in different ways in different parts of the world, and where are the most encouraging developments? Based on our understandings of transport history, how can we contribute to the post-automobility transition?
At the same time, our world at present seems disturbed by the dark mobilities brought about by various kinds of violence: the cloaked mobility of terrorism and terrorists; the deathly maneuvers of drones and aerial warfare; the rapid-fire circulation of guns, violent ideologies, and social media recruitment campaigns; the persistent threats to the black body in public space in America; and the resurgence of xenophobic, populist, nationalist movements and attacks on minorities. How can our field also contribute to public deliberations about borders, security, migration, and the power relations of mobility and immobility?
Yet amidst this December darkness there is always also some light. Some public leaders are reiterating the values of protecting refugees, interfaith dialogue, and open communication. World leaders may reach an agreement on reducing CO2 emissions. The emergence of ‘disruptive’ technologies based on sharing and fractional use may well undermine the 20th century system of automobility, and new policies for urban planning are beginning to limit car use in many major cities.
All of these changes are the bread and butter of historians of transport, traffic, and mobility, linked to our field’s deep and abiding interests in complex socio-technical systems, the making and unmaking of infrastructure, local and global change, urban form and policy mobilities, and the differentials of power and justice that inform all of these. So I remain hopeful for our ability to move forward in 2016 toward more sustainable and socially just systems of mobility, and I trust that members of T2M will play an important part in bringing these about around the world.
In line with these hopes we look forward to many important developments within T2M itself. First, we warmly anticipate (and are busy readying for) our 13th Annual Conference in Mexico City in 2016 on “Mobilities: Space of Flows and Friction.” The Call for Papers has been circulating – be sure to spread the word far and wide. The conference will take place in the beautiful Chapultepec Park from October 27-30th, with an Opening Address from Mexico’s Secretary of the Environment, Tanya Müller Garcia, and several exciting Keynote Speakers whom we will be announcing soon.
Second, we are delighted to be moving forward with the complete redesign of the T2M website, along with a new conference management system, both of which we hope to launch in January. So please look out for the announcement, and once online, please spread the news far and wide.
Third, we are taking great strides with our journals, making online access and fully searchable back issues available for the Journal of Transport History, which has just moved to a new publisher, Sage; online access to our Yearbook, Mobility in History, now available from Berghahn, along with the option of discounted subscriptions to Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies; as well as the option for discounted subscriptions to Mobilities, published by Taylor and Francis.
All of these options for those either joining T2M or renewing membership will be clearly laid out on the new website. For current members, if you were expecting a mailing of JTH, we will instead be sending out instructions for opening your new online subscription with our new publisher Sage.
I want to thank all of you who are volunteering your work on our Executive Committee, our Local Organizing Committee and Program Committee for the conference, and the many other committees that keep T2M going behind the scenes throughout the year. Finally, I want to wish you all a light of hope for this December and a Happy New Year for 2016.