Presidents Letter September 2016
President’s Letter – Mimi Sheller
Dear T2M members,
It is just a little over a month until our annual conference meets in Mexico City! Registrations are complete and if you have not already done so be sure to book your travel and accommodation and submit your final paper. We look forward to a rich array of panels on topics such as Mobility Justice, Politics and Hope, Mobility in Transition, Trans-Border Mobilities, Gendered Mobilities, Tourism, Placemaking, and sessions on various aspects of automobility, cycling, railways, and aviation history. We are also looking forward to keynote addresses by Brazilian historian of automobility Guillermo Giucci, cultural geographer of mobilities Tim Cresswell, and museum curator Debbie Douglas. I want to thank our Local Organizing Committee for their tireless efforts to prepare the conference: Víctor Márquez (Chair), Dhan Zunino Singh, Tomás Errázuriz, and Maximiliano Velázquez.
This has been a year of many developments in the realm of transport, from the ongoing expansion of car-sharing or ride-on-demand services to the arrival of self-driving cars in some cities; the expansion of the Panama Canal and the crisis of over-supply in the freight shipping industry; the spread of urban bike-sharing programs and growing number of bicycle commuters in many cities; the continuing ‘automobilization’ of mega-cities in Asia and Africa, and the continuing efforts at a renewable energy shift in many countries. All of this, and more, is at the heart of transport history and mobility studies: What do these social, economic and cultural changes mean for how people organize their lives and societies? How do we understand the past in new ways in light of present challenges? And how can re-thinking this history help us steer towards a better future?
We hope you have been enjoying our refreshed website launched this year with a new format featuring a special section for conference announcements and events; Recent News items including publication announcements, View from the Street stories, and In the Spotlight interviews; and new convenient access to our range of publications: the T2M Yearbook: Mobility in History, the Journal of Transport History, and specially priced subscriptions for members to Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies, and Mobilities. I especially want to thank our website committee for advancing this wonderful transformation, including Julia Hildebrand, Hiroki Shin, and Andrey Vozyanov.
As our excellent Yearbook editor Kyle Shelton points out in his Preface to Vol. 8, we have decided with our publisher Berghahn to shift the T2M Yearbook: Mobility in History to a digital format, allowing for the use of color photos and graphics and online access to all back issues, as well as great cost savings. Publishing is transforming these days into new accessible online formats. With the move of the Journal of Transport History to a new publisher with SAGE, it is also now being published digitally. With these changes we will be publishing engaging shorter state of the field pieces, interviews, commentaries and discussion pieces on our own website platform. Please note that you can now also sign up for our T2M Newsletter which will be delivered electronically – please register from the t2m.org website. We also invite all members to send in items to our busy team of Newsletter editors Robin Kellermann, Andrey Vozyanov, and Thiago Allis.
Over the last few years T2M has successfully expanded to include not only historians of transport and mobility, but also sociologists, geographers, anthropologists, media studies scholars, and other disciplines. We have cemented our relationship with the Cosmobilities Network through hosting conferences together at Drexel (2014) and Caserta, Italy (2015) and at our Annual Members Meeting this year we will hear a proposal to host our 2017 conference in association with the Centre for Mobilities Research and the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University in England. It is a period of building connections and linking institutions across our dynamic interdisciplinary field, which is drawing greater international recognition.
I want to thank our Vice Presidents whose terms are coming to a close this year: Marie-Noëlle Polino, Massimo Moraglio, and Sven Kesselring. We look forward to electing new Vice Presidents and members of the Executive Committee during our Annual Member’s Meeting, and electronic balloting will also be available next month. If there is anyone else who would like to be nominated to run for the EC please submit your name right away to Ralf Roth, chair of the elections committee, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to seeing those of you who will be joining us in Mexico City, and for those who cannot make the transatlantic crossing this year, we look forward to seeing you in Europe next year, as we continue to rotate our conference location on a biannual basis.