Resistant Culture, African Travel
Time and the Other in Nineteenth-Century German Travel Writing on Africa
Between 1848 and 1914 a wave of German academic explorers traveled to Africa, enticed by the promise of geographical, anthropological and botanical discoveries. These Afrikareisende (African explorers) composed narrative accounts of their journeys, which at the time were the main channel for disseminating their experiences to the public. This article focuses on three works from the first three decades of German exploration of Africa prior to German unification in 1871. The common aim of scientific discovery unified Afrikareisende and their passage through foreign space. An inextricable feature of this scientific ideology is the connection to rational, linear time. This article demonstrates how the perception and relevance of time is employed to transfer knowledge of the Self and Other to a German readership. This knowledge reflects not only the explorers’ experience of their personal identity but also the tentative beginnings of a collective German identity as it is defined in colonial space.
Tough Ultramarathons and Life on the Run
Kai Syng Tan
Understanding through Performance Black Boston
A City Connects
“Africa, Are We There Yet?” Taking African Mobilities Seriously—Concluding Remarks
Adopting an African-focused perspective in the analysis of African experiences of mobility enables us to confront the limits imposed by a historicist-induced articulation of African experiences of mobility. This article off ers some concluding remarks to a section on African mobilities and attempts a critical analysis of how an African-based perspective of mobility serves to decenter or provincialize the Western-centric discourses of mobility. This undertaking is important in the attempts to fashion African modes of thought that serve as a counternarrative to European thought and to subvert the misrepresentations of im/mobilities of Africa and things African.
All for a Container! Return Migration, Transport Technologies, and Love Affairs
This article analyzes the articulation between mobility and technology within life trajectories marked by migration, exile, and the search for economic achievement. It does so by focusing on a Nigerian couple’s (attempted) itinerary of return migration from Italy to Nigeria, and on the tensions that surround the role played by a specific transport technology, the shipping container, within this process. It highlights how, throughout the itinerary that brings the container from Italy to Nigeria, its social meaning and that of the cargo stored in it become the center of a series of tense interactions, in which diverging imaginaries about transnational mobility, migration, and life abroad come to the fore, and provoke radical transformations in the life of the people involved in the itinerary of the container itself.
Blue Sky Matter
Toward an (In-flight) Understanding of the Sensuousness of Mobilities Design
Ole B. Jensen and Phillip Vannini
In this article we present a theoretical framework for an understanding of the relationship between the material design of mobilities technologies and the multisensorial human body. Situating our work in the emerging field of “mobilities design” within the broader so-called mobilities turn, we focus on two very different aircraft types and their design (the large passenger jet Boeing 737 and the small propeller aircraft DHC-2) in order to explore the sensuousness of in-flight experience and atmosphere. We focus on the interior design of the aircraft as well as on their technical capacities, and end with a conclusion that off ers a flat ontological view of mobilities design. We argue that according the material design of mobilities technologies must be inscribed on equal terms with the sensing human subject if we are to claim that we have reached a better understanding of how mobility feels.
James Longhurst, Sheila Dwyer, John Lennon, Zhenhua Chen, Rudi Volti, Gopalan Balachandran, Katarina Gephardt, Mathieu Flonneau, Kyle Shelton, and Fiona Wilkie
The Case of the Baka of Southeast Cameroon—A Variation on the Habitual Mobility–Immobility Nexus
Harrison Esam Awuh
This article demonstrates how conservation-induced immobilization aff ects the movement of knowledge and practices. I employ the case study of the Baka of East Cameroon to show how spatial immobility, or forced anthropostasis, among the Baka influences the flow of some kinds of knowledge and practices. This study also off ers a critique of the view that, when hunter-gatherers settle in towns or permanent villages, their access to new knowledge and practices will be improved, thereby making their lives better. Rather, the loss of local medical knowledge, increased alcohol abuse, and an increasing destabilization of the ecological environment are the main detrimental consequences of new forms of knowledge that Baka are acquiring in villages as a result of contacts with the state, absorption into a capitalist society, and the influence of western-based nongovernmental organizations.
“Containers, Carriers, Vehicles”
Three Views of Mobility from Africa
Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, Jeroen Cuvelier, and Katrien Pype
This introduction launches the new portfolio of articles on African mobilities and situates the three articles of this special section within the portfolio’s approach. This could be summarized in three key objectives. First, it seeks to highlight the inadequacy of enthusing in Africa simply as a venue where the itineraries of things and people from outside take place. Second, African mobilities is a way to signal the mobilities of Africans and things “African” in the world. Third, African mobilities is a theoretical standpoint. It serves as a critique of Western notions of mobility that have been universalized, built on nostalgia about what one, following Western ethnocentric assumptions, readily concludes are the technological and scientific wonders.