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State of Uncertainty

Educating the First Railroaders in Central Sakha (Yakutiya)

Sigrid Irene Wentzel

from the center and enable an outlying region to become more center-like. And yet the state of uncertainty triggered doubt among the young cohorts about their suitability and desire for this industrial future. This undermined the transmission and

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History, Historiography, and Be(com)ing on the Move

Introduction to the Special Section

M. William Steele and Weiqiang Lin

If we now live in the “Asian Century,” what and how are we to think about the seeming incongruence of the traditional rickshaw and the high-speed shinkansen? What is the historical context behind the growing and sometimes alarming statistics of Asian motoring, both their production and use? How do we explain the explosion of mobilities, both local and global, in and about Asia? Amid this evident desire to be on the move, the articles in this Special Section begin to tackle some of these questions, by means of exploring three different iterations of organized transport in East and Southeast Asia in the last century. In the process, they seek to provide some answers (and pose further questions) to the conduits through which historical Asia moved, why it did so in the way it did, and whether there was anything qualitatively different in the way Asia embraced its potential to move.

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Gijs Mom, Cotten Seiler, and Georgine Clarsen

This issue is the last of volume 2. With this, we have reached a milestone in our fledgling history and a threshold to the last volume in our series of three in which we have strived, and still strive, to get all the important elements of a good journal in place. According to our original plans our priorities were to establish top-quality submissions, a splendid pool of knowledgeable and rigorous but generous transdisciplinary referees, efficient refereeing procedures, satisfactory rejection rates, timely manuscript production, and a subscriber base that crosses disciplinary boundaries. Although quantitatively not yet up to standard, our readership is variegated and adventurous enough to appreciate our desire to “rethink mobility” and dedicate printed space to “mobility writ large.” Before we begin to produce volume 3 (2012) this September, our editorial team will retreat, evaluate, and look each other in the eyes to determine what we can do better.

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This issue of Transfers features five individual essays critically engaging with the promises promoted alongside new methods and purposes of mobility. Two essays, Martin Emanuel’s “From Victim to Villain: Cycling, Traffic Policy, and Spatial Conflicts in Stockholm, circa 1980” and Andrew V. Clark and colleagues’ “The Rise and Fall of the Segway: Lessons for the Social Adoption of Future Transportation,” circle around a core theme of Transfers with their fresh look at transportation, its vehicles, and its methods; two others, Noah Goodall’s “More Than Trolleys: Plausible, Ethically Ambiguous Scenarios Likely to Be Encountered by Automated Vehicles” and Gal Hertz’s “From Epistemology of Suspicion to Racial Profiling: Hans Gross, Mobility and Crime around 1900,” look at mobility’s social side. Fascinatingly consistent are the adjectives and adverbs that qualify the promises that are made for these technologies. Segways, for instance, were sustainable, enviro-friendly, shared. Smart, personalized, and robotic are some of the commonly invoked terms in the growing literature on this particular PMD (personal mobility device). Adverbial are the benefits of automated driving too: safe and liberating, both values desired by a nineteenth-century urbanized Austrian society that imagined the city as a space of settled inhabitants free of migrants and hence also free of crimes.

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Peter Merriman

, appreciated and desired” by embodied subjects of different kinds. 8 Mobility aesthetics, then, would not just be concerned with the production, generation, or interpretation of representations of mobility. Rather, it could be seen to encompass all manner of

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Stéphanie Ponsavady

ambitions of the state and the interests of investors and private companies. They have brought desired forms of mobility to some. Railroads have also held the hope of socio- economic development, which rarely ends up materializing for the local communities

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Introduction

Autonomous Driving and the Transformation of Car Cultures

Jutta Weber and Fabian Kröger

are centered around the assumption that automobility should be understood in the context of the intense emotions, passions, feelings, and desires it provokes. Such responses are part of a gendered economy that ought to receive scholarly attention

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On Growing a Journal

A View from the South

Georgine Clarsen

to contribute to progressive change. I am grateful to have been part of this terrific team. As both Mimi and Gijs have demonstrated in their articles in this issue, Transfers emerged out of a desire and urgent need to think through and beyond

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Introduction

Precarious Connections: On the Promise and Menace of Railroad Projects

Peter Schweitzer and Olga Povoroznyuk

of collective life. 45 Finally, in her essay about a golden spike, anthropologist Heather Swanson notes that “railroads … put the world on a new track,” 46 emerging from and contributing to dreams of empires and desires of capitalist accumulation

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Walking as a Metaphor

COVID Pandemic and the Politics of Mobility

Avishek Ray

of the last desperate act of maintaining the urban disavowal of migrants and the disenfranchisement of their mobility—a desire to expunge the dirty and obscene face of our present economic system by an active cleansing of its human manifestation