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Becoming “Pacific-Minded”

Australian Middlebrow Writers in the 1940s and the Mobility of Texts

Anna Johnston

Abstract

The travel writer Frank Clune saw World War II as a turning point in Australia’s consciousness, turning its inhabitants’ attention to the Pacific region. Similarly, the writer Ernestine Hill was delighted to find new American markets for her Australian books in wartime as troops were mobilized across the Pacific theater. In America, as Janice Radway has shown, the sentimental mode of “middlebrow personalism” enabled writers to engage their readers in wider geopolitical affairs. Middlebrow intellectuals, texts, and institutions were crucial in educating Americans about their evolving midcentury relationships with Asia, just as writers such as Clune and Hill educated Australians about the Pacific: a coalition of American and Australian mobilities and imaginaries in middlebrow midcentury print culture. This article examines the multiple ways in which these books and their writers “made Australia” in terms of a regional imaginary that extended across the Pacific during this period.

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Manuel Stoffers, Blake Morris, Alan Meyer, Younes Saramifar, Andrew Cobbing, Martin Emanuel, Rudi Volti, Caitlin Starr Cohn, Caitríona Leahy, and Sunny Stalter-Pace

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Gijs Mom and Georgine Clarsen

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Christopher Howard and Wendelin Küpers

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The following article explores meanings and implications of mobile technologies and embodiment in a globally networked context. Drawing on ethnographic research on global travelers moving through Nepal and India, we focus on the role mobile technologies play in mediating perceptions and performances of place. Facilitated by contemporary media and mobility infrastructures, we suggest that mobile subjects are relationally “interplaced.” By introducing this notion, we aim to illustrate how forms of virtual mobility overlap with and impact actual, corporeal experience. Following Heidegger, we also develop a concept we call “digital Gestell” (enframement). Applying Heidegger’s reflection that technologies of a given historical epoch frame the way subjects approach the world, we can say that many people today are “digitally enframed.” Facing this increasingly technologized Being-in-the-world, we suggest an “ethos of Gelassenheit” for a more responsive and responsible awareness of the powers technologies hold on our perceptions and actions.

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Introduction

Print Culture, Mobility, and The Pacific, 1920–1950

Victoria Kuttainen and Susann Liebich

Abstract

This special section considers the interconnections of print culture and mobility across the Pacific in the early twentieth century. The contributors explore how print culture was part of the practices, experiences, mediations, and representations of travel and mobility, and understand mobility in a number of ways: from the movement of people and texts across space and the mobility of ideas to the opportunities of social mobility through travel. The special section moves beyond studies of travel writing and the literary analysis of travel narratives by discussing a range of genres, by paying attention to readers and reception, and by focusing on actual mobility and its representation as well as the mediation between the two.

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Malini Sur

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Frances Steel

Abstract

This comment reflects on the contributions to this special section on print culture and mobility in the Pacific. It focuses on the ways in which changing attitudes toward ocean-going mobility and its mass commercialisation in the first half of the twentieth century encouraged new textual and visual forms of appraisal and representation of the Pacific. This, in turn, facilitated the fashioning of new mobile subjectivities, which illuminate a range of gendered and racialized aspirations being projected into the Pacific region from the white settler states around its rim. Together, the articles suggest avenues for further research on the impact of shipboard and island port encounters on forms of Australian self-presentation and engagement in the region.

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The Spectacular Traveling Woman

Australian and Canadian Visions of Women, Modernity, and Mobility between the Wars

Sarah Galletly

Abstract

This article applies recent scholarship concerned with transatlantic mobility and print cultures to a comparative study of images of transpacific travel for women during the interwar period. During the 1920s and 1930s female travelers splashed spectacularly across the pages of mainstream, popular magazines produced in America, Britain, and the wider Anglophone world. Focusing on two magazines that launched in this era, The Australian Woman’s Mirror (1924–1961) and Chatelaine (1928–), this article explores Australian and Canadian fictional portrayals of the traveling woman of the interwar years to examine the ways in which the mobility of the modern girl became a screen for anxieties and fantasies of these two national print imaginaries. By paying attention to the different portrayals of female mobility through the Pacific from both sides of the ocean, this article also considers the intersection between actual travel, ideas about travel, and notions of gendered social mobility.

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Theorizing Mobility Transitions

An Interdisciplinary Conversation

Cristina Temenos, Anna Nikolaeva, Tim Schwanen, Tim Cresswell, Frans Sengers, Matt Watson, and Mimi Sheller

Abstract

Despite a surge of multidisciplinary interest in transition studies on low-carbon mobilities, there has been little evaluation of the current state of the field, and the contributions of different approaches such as the multi-level perspective (MLP), theories of practice, or the new mobilities paradigm. As a step in this direction, this contribution brings together scholars representing different theoretical perspectives and disciplinary fields in order to discuss processes and uneven geographies of mobility transitions as they are currently theorized. First, we reflect upon the role of geographers and other social scientists in envisioning, enabling, and criticizing mobility transitions. Second, we discuss how different theoretical approaches can develop mobility transitions scholarship. Finally, we highlight emerging issues in mobility transitions research.

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Worldly Tastes

Mobility and the Geographical Imaginaries of Interwar Australian Magazines

Victoria Kuttainen and Susann Liebich

Abstract

In the interwar period, increasingly mobile Australians began to contemplate travel across the Pacific, both toward Asia as well as to America. Contemporary writing reflected this highly mobile culture and Pacific gaze, yet literary histories have overlooked this aspect of cultural history. Instead of looking to Australian novels as indexes of culture, as literary studies often do, this article explores the range of writing and print culture in magazines, concentrating on notions of mobility through the Pacific. Its focus is on the quality magazines MAN and The Home, which addressed two distinct, gendered readerships, but operated within similar cultural segments. This article suggests that the distinct geographical imaginaries of these magazines, which linked travel and geographical mobility with aspiration and social mobility, played a role in consolidating and nourishing the class standing of their readers, and revealed some of their attitudes toward gender and race.