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Airports as Urban Narratives

Toward a Cultural History of the Global Infrastructures

Nathalie Roseau

This article focuses on the process of the design of airports and how in particular the urban context has shaped their specific histories. Far from being merely pure technical or functional equipment, they have been mirrors for contemporary expectations, just as they informed the modern urban imaginary. According to this perspective, an urban history of airports can be traced from the first aerodromes dedicated to large urban publics to the development of spectacular airports driven by the massive recent routinization of air transport so intricately bound up with globalization. Based on research on specific cases of the design and building of New York and Paris airports, this article aims to resist the temptations to dehistoricize the airport topic, and to introduce a narrative mode of thinking about these specific and concrete spaces.

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Michael F. Wagner

Automobilism—the culture of individual mobility based on private transportation—is promoted by leisure, consumption, the construction of infrastructure, and the provision of service by auto clubs. It promises to carry the driver away on a voyage of discovery with narratives of adventurousness and dreams of the good life on the road. It was from the outset an international movement with national repercussions and variations on a theme. Basically, however, the rise of European automobile culture accompanied the rise of consumption for leisure, which in turn evolved into a consumption regime of mediation and consumption junctions based on individual mobility and tourism.

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Gijs Mom

In his reply to my diatribe about the crisis of transport and mobility history, my friend Peter Merriman casually drops the term “modernist” three times (one time in combination with “desires”), as if to suggest that mine is a backward struggle. He seems to ask: haven’t we now moved into the postmodern condition, beyond the illusions of grand narratives and all-permeating questions, into a meadow of a thousand blooming flowers? Apart from the fact that Mao was more modest than Merriman (Mao used ba¯i, a hundred, not qia¯n, a thousand, my Chinese teacher here in Shanghai explains to me, and he used “blossoming” rather than “blooming,” though the difference between the two escapes me with my limited mastery of English), Peter might be right: I confess I am an antimodernist modernist. Like Deng Xiaoping, for whom this term was coined by the Chinese historian Wang Hui and with whom (for several reasons) I don’t like to be compared, I like to stir things up to keep us awake. I need to ask questions—often with a vengeance. Perhaps the main difference between Peter and I is that I dare to use the word “us.” I feel a member of an association, while Peter might be considered a monad in a network. While I bask in the illusions of a community of scholars, Peter advocate a mild postmodernism, perhaps feeling more at home in a fragmented environment, of which even the mobile practices of the Australian Pitjantjatara form a part. Do we have a case of Gesellschaft versus Gemeinschaft here?

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New Mobilities, Spaces, and Ideas to Market

European Travel Writers and the Making of a Genre—Comment

Steven D. Spalding

benefit to both fields of inquiry. I examine the ambitions of the section, discuss strengths and weaknesses of each article, and then conclude with thoughts on ways forward. The introduction explains that “itinerant knowledge” is about travel narratives

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Tracey Reimann-Dawe

African otherness throughout the nineteenth century. The Afrikareisende travel narratives are of course part of an extensive history of travel writing. By the early nineteenth century, the travel account had developed significantly in sophistication from

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Anna-Leena Toivanen

aeromobility often function as narrative transitions, and they may seem marginal or even insignificant with respect to the entity of the text—this is also the case of three of the four novels analyzed in this article: scenes of aeromobility in Kihindou

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Ernst van der Wal

and/or sexuality. 1 Such projects use photography and narrative (that is, recorded and/or transcribed interviews and conversations) to give a sense of how LGBT refugees understand themselves in relation to, inter alia, the nation-state and its

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“Four Guys and a Hole in the Floor”

Racial Politics of Mobility and Excretion among BC-Based Long Haul Truckers

Amie McLean

counternarratives, powerful stories locate the white working-class male settler as the normative truck driver. 3 These narratives are especially reliant on the dehumanization and feminization of truckers with South Asian ancestry. Inasmuch as racializing narratives

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At the Threshold to the New World

Equator Crossings, Sunsets, and Claude Lévi-Strauss’s Tristes Tropiques

Michael Bies

representation of equator crossings as travel narratives. As travel narratives, the accounts do not merely depict the ceremonies and rituals performed but they indeed mark, or reenact, such crossings by narrating them as “liminal” events, to borrow Victor Turner

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Introduction

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

Victoria Kuttainen and Susann Liebich

studies, periodicals and magazine culture, travel writing and narratives, Pacific studies, travel and tourism, as well as visual culture. The resulting articles in this special section, revised to pay special attention to the myriad meanings of mobility