In the last two decades many researchers have taken diverse approaches to the study of airports. The airport was long considered a topic for specialists and designers, or admired as a monument celebrating the spectacle of aeromobility—from early aeronautical shows to later Sunday excursions to the huge observation terraces overlooking the airfield. Today the airport as a critical issue permeates the literature at various angles. Why such a profusion and what do these works offer the history of mobility?
Manuel Stoffers and Anne-Katrin Ebert
Writing late in 2009 for Mobility in History, Manuel Stoffers, Harry Oosterhuis, and Peter Cox observed that research publications on the history of bicycling were scarce—especially publications on cycling as a mode of transport, past and present. Their article was itself an indication of increasing academic interest in the history of cycling as transport, as distinguished from the history of cycling as sport, and the technological history of the bicycle and bicycle production.
The Canada/U.S. border has not shifted physically in many years but psychologically the border is in a very different place today than before 9/11. While the various agreements of the late 1900s seemed to indicate that the border was becoming an informal formality, the events of 9/11 resulted in a significant increase in wait times as security protocols were tightened. This review article considers recent scholarship on border mobility, waiting, and their implications moving forward.
Itinerant “Criminal Tribes” and Their Containment by the Salvation Army in Colonial South India
In retelling the history of “criminal tribe” settlements managed by the Salvation Army in Madras Presidency (colonial India) from 1911, I argue that neither the mobility–immobility relationship nor the compositional heterogeneity of (im)mobility practices can be adequately captured by relational dialecticism espoused by leading mobilities scholars. Rather than emerging as an opposition through dialectics, the relationship between (relative) mobility and containment may be characterized by overlapping hybridity and difference. This differential hybridity becomes apparent in two ways if mobility and containment are viewed as immanent gatherings of humans and nonhumans. First, the same entities may participate in gatherings of mobility and of containment, while producing different effects in each gathering. Here, nonhumans enter a gathering, and constitute (im)mobility practices, as actors that make history irreducibly differently from other actors that they may be entangled with. Second, modern technologies and amodern “institutions” may be indiscriminately drawn together in all gatherings.
Hand-pulled Rickshaws in Kolkata
Gopa Samanta and Sumita Roy
This article examines the marginal mobilities of hand-pulled rickshaws and rickshaw-pullers in Kolkata, India. It traces the politics of rickshaw mobilities, showing how debates about modernity and the informal economy frequently overshadow the experience of the marginalized community of hand-rickshaw pullers. It shows how the hand-pulled rickshaw rarely becomes the focus of research or debate because of its marginal status—technologically (being more primitive than the cycle rickshaw); geographically (operating only in Kolkata city); and in terms of the social status of the operators (the majority being Bihari migrants in Kolkata). Drawing upon both quantitative and qualitative research, this study focuses on the backgrounds of the rickshaw-pullers, their strategies for earning livelihoods, the role of social networks in their life and work, and their perceptions of the profession—including their views of the state government's policy of seeking to abolish hand-pulled rickshaws. The article concludes by addressing the question of subalternity.
Rickshaws in Asia
M. William Steele
The rickshaw initiated an explosion in personal mobility in Asia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Invented in Japan in 1869, by 1872 there were forty thousand and by 1875 over one hundred thousand of the new two-wheel vehicles on the streets of Tokyo. The number reached a peak in 1896 with 210,000 countrywide. The rickshaw (in Japanese, jinrikisha) quickly spread to Asia, to Shanghai and Hong Kong in 1874, to Singapore and Calcutta in 1880. By 1900, the rickshaw had spread throughout the continent, bringing with it new mobility to an emerging urban middle class. Moreover, for many people in Asia, the rickshaw alongside the locomotive, came to symbolize modernity. This article will explore routes of diffusion, focusing on the role played by Akiha Daisuke and his adopted son, Akiha Daisuke II, Japan's largest exporters of rickshaws, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Since its inception, this journal has been at the leading edge of publishing research that rethinks mobilities from a humanities perspective. We learned much in the process. A plenary panel held at the T2M conference in Drexel University in September 2014 reflected on the experiences of our editorial team and announced our plans to organize our future work through a number of broad portfolios. Each invites/dares our contributors to take our thinking into new territory.
Rationales, Rhetoric and 'Institutional Isomorphism'
Drawing on interviews with Canadian and Australian officials, this article examines the frame of student mobility within the broad discourse of internationalisation. Difficulties in definition and admitted shortfalls in achieving progress even on the more easily articulated benchmarks of student mobility, do not seem to staunch the enthusiasm of a variety of officials for the idea of internationalisation. This article will examine some of the contradictions framing these institutional discourses of internationalisation. These include the gaps between institutional claims and their substantiation, between lauding the internationalism inculcated by student mobility programmes and the more mixed motivations or engagements of student clients, and between claims for the entrepreneurial potential of internationalisation as against the uncertainty of its outcomes. I argue that a long-standing Western view of travel as a vehicle for self-cultivation and transformation combined with competitive efforts to keep up with perceived trends in the fields of post-secondary education are producing a momentum that is elusive even as it threatens to bulldoze its way across important institutional practices and procedures.
Focusing on the wide-ranging scholarship on how railway technology, travel, and infrastructure has affected South Asia‚ this article highlights recent interventions and shifts. It discusses how questions about land‚ labor‚ capital‚ and markets are being increasingly integrated with questions about how railways affected society‚ culture‚ and politics. It also stresses the increasing interest in comparative work‚ both in terms of locating railways within wider structures of transport and mobility as well as analyzing how South Asia’s engagement relates to the global impact of this technology.
Carlos López Galviz
Imagining the future of cities is often an exercise that is based upon the imagining of future transport infrastructure. The article explores this connection historically by drawing parallels between London, Paris and Shanghai since c.1851. It focuses on the role that symbols and mythmaking have in the process of envisioning both future transport and future cities. It raises questions about the continuities between contexts that are distant across space and over time and the extent to which such continuities might provide some insights into the many connections between cities, transport and mobilities.