The Freeway Journey

Landscape and Mobility in the Southern Auto Industry

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John E. Mohr The University of Alabama, Huntsville, USA

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The I-85 highway corridor through the American South has emerged as a key artery for the global auto industry over the last three decades. An influx of foreign capital has transformed the region into one of the world's prime automobile manufacturing hubs. The easy mobility offered by I-85 and its tributary networks has been central to the economic and social transformation of the region. However, there are distinct limits and costs to this transformation that are frequently downplayed in the name of a technologically utopian approach to development. The I-85 corridor has facilitated the development of the auto industry in the American South, but it has also contributed greatly to the increasing capitalist exploitation of its people.

Contributor Notes

John E. Mohr is a Lecturer in History at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Society of Automotive Historians. His research interests include Southern economic development, the expansion of global capitalism, and the relationship between technology, class, and power. Email:

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies