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Latin America

A challenging prospect for regionalism

Ernesto Vivares


This article contends that the prospects of regionalism in Latin America are highly uncertain. In the light of the inequality that has historically characterized the region, the commodity-oriented dependence, and the political instability, the region will not be able to face the future without cooperation. This article argues that Latin America must aim at pragmatic and non-ideological cooperation to focus on regional development. To reach that goal, the article discusses how both the traditional development formulas of neoliberalism and neodevelopmentalism have been unable to deliver consistent responses to the current regional problems in the face of COVID-19 and the changing global order.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

After almost one year of global pandemic, the overlapping crises caused by COVID-19 have worsened in most regions, and people have become weary of both the coronavirus and government measures aimed at limiting its spread and collateral impacts. Many people clamor for a return to “normal.” With the announcement in November 2020 that vaccine tests have shown promising results, it seems that a medical solution to the health pandemic could be a defining feature of the first few months of 2021.

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Scratches on our sovereignty?

Analyzing conservation politics in the Sundarbans

Jayashree Vivekanandan


The article critically examines the conservation politics in a transboundary protected area (TBPA) in South Asia, the Sundarbans mangrove forests in Bangladesh and India. It explores the reasons why, despite collaborative measures by the two states, conservation has largely tended to conform to sovereignty practices, making it top-down and exclusionary. This makes the very demarcation of territory for protected areas an intensely political act with significant implications for social equity. The article examines the cultural politics of conservation since contestations to state power have often entailed the articulation of popular sovereignty in the Sundarbans. It argues that the social sustainability of conservation will critically hinge on how issues of resource access and governance are framed, negotiated, and addressed.


El artículo examina críticamente la política de conservación en el Área Protegida Transfronteriza (APT): los Sundarbans en Bangladesh e India. Explora por qué, a pesar de la colaboración bilateral, la conservación ha tendido en gran medida a ajustarse a prácticas de soberanía vertical y excluyente. La sola demarcación territorial de las APT, se convierte en un fuerte acto político con implicaciones significativas en la equidad social. El artículo examina la política cultural de la conservación, ya que las protestas al poder del Estado a menudo tienen implicaciones en la articulación de la soberanía popular en los Sundarbans. Argumenta que la sostenibilidad social de la conservación dependerá fundamentalmente de cómo se enmarquen, negocien y aborden las cuestiones de acceso a los recursos y su gobernanza.


L'article analyse de manière critique la politique de conservation dans une aire protégée transfrontalière (APT) en Asie du sud, la forêt des mangroves des Sundarbans au Bangladesh et en Inde. Il explore les raisons pour lesquelles, malgré les instruments de coopération entre les deux États, la conservation a adopté des pratiques de souveraineté étatique qui l'ont rendue verticale et exclusive. La démarcation du territoire des aires protégées est un acte profondément politique qui a des implications en matière d´égalité sociale. L'article examine la politique de conservation à travers des actes contestaires vis-à-vis du pouvoir étatique qui ont souvent favorisé une articulation de la souveraineté populaire dans les Sundarbans. Il met en évidence que la durabilité sociale de la conservation dépend de l'encadrement, de la négociation et de la promotion des thèmes d'accès aux ressources et de la gouvernance.

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Anna-Leena Toivanen


In the field of postcolonial literary studies, representations of concrete forms of mobility have not received the critical attention they deserve. This is partly due to the field's reductive understanding of “mobility” as a synonym for migration. In order to enhance dialogue between postcolonial literary studies and mobilities research, this article focuses on representations of aeromobility in the context of Afroeuropean student mobilities in a set of Francophone African novels from the 1980s to the 2010s. My reading of scenes of aeromobility in the text corpus draws attention to the anxious aspects of the air travel of unaccustomed travelers and African newcomers traveling to the former colonial center, and explores the formal functions of representations of aeromobility in terms of narrative structures and tropes.

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Lucy Baker, Paola Castañeda, Matthew Dalstrom, Ankur Datta, Tanja Joelsson, Mario Jordi-Sánchez, Jennifer Lynn Kelly, and Dhan Zunino Singh

Nicholas A. Scott, Assembling Moral Mobilities: Cycling, Cities and the Common Good (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2020), 288 pp., 38 illus., $50

John Stehlin, Cyclescapes of the Unequal City: Bicycle Infrastructure and Uneven Development (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019), 328 pp., 24 photos, 11 maps, 9 tables, $27

Cecilia Vindrola-Padros, Critical Ethnographic Perspectives on Medical Travel (New York: Routledge, 2019), 161 pp., $36.77

Nicola Frost and Tom Selwyn, eds., Travelling Towards Home: Mobilities and Homemaking (New York: Berghahn, 2018), 182 pp., 10 illus., 1 table, $110

Peter Cox, Cycling: A Sociology of Vélomobility (Abingdon: Routledge, 2019), 200 pp., 2 B/W illus., £120.00 (ebook £40.49)

Lesley Murray and Susana Cortés-Morales, Children's Mobilities: Interdependent, Imagined, Relational (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), 307 pp., 10 illus., $89.99

Jocelyne Guilbault and Timothy Rommen, eds., Sounds of Vacation: Political Economies of Caribbean Tourism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019), 234 pp., $25.95

John Krige, ed., How Knowledge Moves: Writing the Transnational History of Science and Technology (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2019), 408 pp., 11 illus., $40

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The Cadences of Rails

Unscheduled Stops in Tōkyō's Spaces of Flow

Robert J. Simpkins


This article explores how urban space produced by the Japanese railway system is appropriated by people for common use in Tōkyō. Drawing from ethnographic research among musicians at a central train station, I explore how individuals enmeshed within the schedules of the commuter network negotiate mobilities that fall outside the purview of railway urbanism. Station tsūro are passageways monitored by rail staff and local authorities, protected by traffic and railway commerce laws, and influenced by competing pressures from the overburdened network and local neighborhoods. Musicians sensitive to these shifting relationships identify leeway within, performing in ways that open tsūro up, producing temporary, finely balanced spaces of encounter and connection. Through these processes, the commuter system creates rail-specific forms of human relationships.

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Connected or Traversed?

Plans, Imaginaries, and the Actual State of Railway Projects in Mongolia

Maria-Katharina Lang and Baatarnaran Tsetsentsolmon


This article focuses on recent railway projects in Selenge and Gobi provinces in Mongolia by addressing railway plans and narratives from a historical perspective. New imaginations and expectations have arisen in connection with planned rail infrastructures such as the “Steppe Road,” which to date only exists on the papers of planners and in the minds of residents. Taking the insight by Morten Axel Pedersen and Mikkel Bunkenborg that roads may act as “technologies of distantiation,” this article further argues that railroads not only connect but also separate, traverse, and disperse. Thus, the critical question remains whether the rail system connects Mongolia or whether is it rather used as a transit zone for outside interests.

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(Dis)Connected Rail

Infrastructural Suspension and Phatic Politics in Romania

Adrian Deoancă


The political force of infrastructures is often attributed to their functioning as designed, while their political afterlives remain underexplored. In this article, I explore ethnographically the phatic force of ruins of infrastructure, by dwelling on a liminal railroad segment in Romania that remains unrehabilitated many years after its breakdown. Such an open-ended state of suspension allows the isolation of infrastructure's political and affective dimensions. The Giurgiu- Bucharest railroad met its demise in 2005 in the wake of heavy floods, producing an infrastructural gap that impacts local mobility and unravels the postsocialist social contract. State authorities and citizens engage in tactics of remediation that, while unsuccessful in resuming traffic, maintain a sense of phatic connection that kindles nostalgia for the past and frustrates anticipation of the future. These tactics make the railroad a medium for hope and at the same time a symbol for the absolute impossibility of hope.

Free access

Stéphanie Ponsavady

The publication timeline of the issues of volume 10 of Transfers has been informed by its own history and our now shared global history. Issue 10.1 commemorated the journal's 10th anniversary and sought to take stock of the past, point to future avenues, and react to the immediate present. Issue 10.2/3 is a double issue that moves the journal further into a new era. It both reaffirms our commitment to interdisciplinarity, diversity, and cutting-edge theorization and remains faithful to our engagement to question accepted histories, especially in the case of infrastructures, these seemingly perennial elements of our lived environment. Editing this journal remains a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort. As such, this double issue presents a collection of research articles on aeromobility, human-elephant relations, LGBT refugees in Germany, and mobility justice in Australia, followed by a special section on railways in Europe and Asia. In both parts of this issue, the articles weave together acts of authoring and reading mobility, by challenging our understanding of our field's accepted terms and concepts, developing their semantic richness, and asking of us to fully reflect on their meaning today.

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EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region

A new space for a study of novel forms of diplomacy

Zane Šime


The evolution of the EU multilevel governance unleashes new dynamics that hold a potential to contribute to the theory-building of paradiplomacy and honing of a more nuanced understanding what is to be understood with science diplomacy in the EU specific setting. When evaluated in the context of a broader body of literature on paradiplomacy and science diplomacy, new empirical examples from the EU macro-regional governance level, such as the discussed role of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg in coordinating a flagship of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region called “Baltic Science Network,” should be treated with caution in terms of paying full attention to the distinct institutional environment in which a sub-national actor operates and pursues its initiatives.


La evolución de la gobernanza multiniveles en la UE desencadena una nueva dinámica que podría contribuir a la teorización de la para-diplomacia y a una comprensión más matizada de diplomacia científica en el marco específico de la UE. Cuando se evalúan en el contexto general de la literatura sobre para-diplomacia y diplomacia científica, los nuevos ejemplos empíricos de gobernanza macro-regional europea, como el controvertido papel de la Ciudad Libre y Hanseática de Hamburgo en la coordinación del “Baltic Science Network” como parte de la estrategia europea para la región del Mar Báltico, deben tratarse con cautela con respecto a la atención al entorno institucional diferenciado en el que un agente sub-nacional opera y lleva a cabo sus iniciativas.


L'évolution de la gouvernance multi-niveaux de l'UE génère une nouvelle dynamique qui pourrait contribuer à la théorisation de la paradiplomatie et à une compréhension plus nuancée du concept de diplomatie scientifique dans le cadre spécifique de l'UE. Lorsqu'ils sont évalués dans le contexte d'ensemble de la li.. érature sur la paradiplomatie et la diplomatie scientifique, les nouveaux exemples empiriques de gouvernance macro-régionale au sein de l'UE, tels que le rôle disputé de la Ville Libre et Hanséatique de Hambourg dans la coordination d'une stratégie de l'UE pour la région de la mer Baltique appelée “Baltic Science Network”, doivent être traités avec prudence pour ce qui est de l'a.. ention portée à l'environnement institutionnel distinct dans lequel un acteur sous-national opère et poursuit ses initiatives.