Racing Mobility, Excavating Modernity

A Comment

in Transfers
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Th e diversity of methodologies, theoretical orientations, geographical settings, and disciplinary perspectives in this special issue of Transfers testifi es to a dual arrival—that of race as a key category of inquiry in mobility studies, and of mobility as a crucial practice in analyses of what scholars in the humanities and social sciences call the social construction of race. Drawing on poststructuralist and critical race theory, refl exive ethnographic methods, and scholarship in literary studies, sociology, and the history of technology, these essays illustrate the versatility of the mobility optic as well as its massive potential for the formation of new knowledge and the eff ecting of egalitarian policy. Th e scholars here make the case for mobility as central to everything from the structured inequalities of the contemporary city to the formation of the raced and gendered modern subject; and their interventions range from the reformist to the ontological. Maybe the infl uential cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz (and the other Western sahibs who recounted the story before him) misunderstood the structure of the world as the fabled Hindu interlocutor conveyed it; perhaps the infi nitely regressing turtles on which the universe rested were never simply standing, but crawling.


Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies