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The Mule Caravans of Western Yunnan

An Oral History of the Muleteers of Zhaozhou

Ma Jianxiong and Ma Cunzhao

Mule caravans established a network across physical, political, and ethnic boundaries that integrated Southwest China, Southeast Asia, and Tibet. This article is a first exploration of this little-known mobile network. Based mainly on oral history, it focuses on the mule caravans based in Zhaozhou in western Yunnan from the late Qing to the 1940s, when the first motor roads were constructed. The investigation assembles horse and mule technologies and trade organization in detail in order to reconstruct the role and standing of transporters and their networks in local society, in the regional setting, in a volatile political environment, and in the face of challenging natural conditions.

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Luminita Gatejel

This review article gives an overview of the relevant literature about automobile culture inside the former Eastern Bloc. First, researchers have used the history of automobiles to deepen our understanding of socialist consumption practices and the history of everyday life in Eastern Europe. Second, the existing literature on automobilty behind the Iron Curtain focuses on the role that Western automotive knowledge and technology played in socialist car production and usage. Finally, the case of the automobile also offers useful insight into socialist city planning and road building, but these remain understudied aspects.

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Phillip Vannini, Nanny Kim, Lisa Cooke, Giovanna Mascheroni, Jad Baaklini, Ekaterina Fen, Elisabeth Betz, Federico Helfgott, Giuseppina Pellegrino, Reiner Ruppmann, and Alfred C. Mierzejewski

Tim Ingold, Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description; Tim Ingold (ed.), Redrawing Anthropology: Materials, Movements, Lines; Tim Ingold and Jo Lee Vergunst (eds.), Ways of Walking: Ethnography and Practice on Foot Phillip Vannini

Tom Standage, A History of the World in 6 Glasses Nanny Kim

Simone Fullagar, Kevin W. Markwell, and Erica Wilson (eds.), Slow Tourism: Experiences and Mobilities Lisa Cooke

Jennie Germann Molz, Travel Connections: Tourism, Technology and Togetherness in a Mobile World Giovanna Mascheroni

Hazel Andrews and Les Roberts (eds.), Liminal Landscapes: Travel, Experience and Spaces In-between Jad Baaklini

Les Roberts, Film, Mobility and Urban Space: A Cinematic Geography of Liverpool Ekaterina Fen

Helen Lee and Steve Tupai Francis (eds.), Migration and Transnationalism: Pacific Perspectives Elisabeth Betz

David Pedersen, American Value: Migrants, Money and Meaning in El Salvador and the United States Federico Helfgott

Leopoldina Fortunati, Raul Pertierra and Jane Vincent (eds.), Migration, Diaspora, and Information Technology in Global Societies Giuseppina Pellegrino

Daniel Flückinger, Strassen für alle: Infrastrukturpolitik im Kanton Bern 1790-1850 Reiner Ruppmann

Richard Vahrenkamp, The Logistic Revolution: The Rise of Logistics in the Mass Consumption Society Alfred C. Mierzejewski

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Gijs Mom, Georgine Clarsen, and Cotten Seiler

At Eindhoven University of Technology, which has a modest reputation for collecting contemporary art, an exhibition of large machines and poetic video clips by father and son Van Bakel invites passersby to reflect on mobility. Gerrit van Bakel, who died more than a quarter century ago, became known for his Tarim Machine, a vehicle that moves at such a low speed that it almost does not matter whether it moves or not. The propulsion principle—for those who love technology—rests on the dilatation energy of oil in tubes propelling (if propelling is the right word …) the contraption a couple of centimeters over a hundred years or so, as long as there is change in temperature to trigger the dilatation. Emphasizing his father’s insights, Michiel van Bakel, exhibits a video clip of a horse and rider galloping over a square in Rotterdam, where the position and camera work are operated so that the horse seems to turn around its axis while the environment rotates at a different tempo. Mobility, these Dutch artists convey, is often not what it seems to be.

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Commentary

Breathing Fresh Air into Mobility Studies from Down Under

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga

As Georgine Clarsen summarizes this special section on Australian and settler colonial Pacific, these four articles add to the “rereading [of] settler-colonial formations through practices and representations of movement [and] circulation.” But that is only half the truth. They also constitute counterrepresentations. They deal not only with the stasis that follows European settling as a process but also with counter- and antimobilities that Indigenous peoples mount: against inward movement, against disruptive settling and forceful displacement of the Indigenous from their lands, and against emplacement and settlement upon it. The scholars in this special section present an example for studies of mobility in the colonial setting in two ways. First, they decenter technology and center the human factor, for which they get full marks. Second they allow mobilities to emanate from the subjects and context of study, rather than letting conceptions of Western-centric, technocentric history of transport and mobility studies guide them.

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John Lennon, Boxcar Politics: The Hobo in U.S. Culture and Literature, 1869–1956 Jennifer Hagen Forsberg

Grégoire Chamayou, A Theory of the Drone Adam Rothstein

Bridget T. Chalk, Modernism and Mobility: The Passport and Cosmopolitan Experience Alicia Rix

Ana Cardoso de Matos and Magda Pinheiro, eds., História Património e Infraestruturas do Caminho de Ferro: Visões do Passado e Perspetivas do Futuro Hugo Silveira Pereira

Nigel Thrift, Adam Tickell, Steve Woolgar, and William F. Rupp, eds., Globalization in Practice Regine Buschauer

Marlis Schweitzer, Transatlantic Broadway: The Infrastructural Politics of Global Performance Sunny Stalter-Pace

Michel Serres, Thumbelina: The Culture and Technology of Millennials Steven D. Spalding

NOVEL REVIEW Taiye Selasi, Ghana Must Go Lindsey Zanchettin

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Gatherings of Mobility and Immobility

Itinerant “Criminal Tribes” and Their Containment by the Salvation Army in Colonial South India

Saurabh Arora

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.

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Rolf-Ulrich Kunze

God created the Earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands, albeit with only a limited role for the railway. Any railway museum in this country invented by and dependent on hydraulic engineering must creatively solve the problem of portraying a technology of mobility which was not central to the Waterstaat (hydro-engineering) identity and the nation’s sociotechnological construction, but one which initially was secondary and subsidiary and, above all, delayed. On the face of it, the story to be told here appears to be that of how, in a northwestern part of Europe where thorough industrialization was late to come, railway-based mobility established itself against the omnipresence of shipping and evolved from seaport-catering surface logistics into an integral element of everyday transportation in twentieth-century Netherlands. The Utrecht Spoorwegmuseum (railway museum) impressively shows that this is not even half the truth, behind which might be, at best, the grumbling resentment of an 1890 boatman.

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Alejandro Rascovan

The invention of railways in the nineteenth century changed the world, displacing older technologies and modifying how humans perceived space and time. Further, the implementation of the railroad coincided with the institutionalization of nation-states in Europe and the Americas. The creation of a nation consisted of three major tasks—formalizing national borders, creating institutions, and capitalizing on the international division of labor. Railways played a major role in each of these endeavors. They played a key role in aiding politicians and entrepreneurs in efforts to achieve specific economic growth and political consolidation. They also structured each country’s territory via infrastructural connection. Argentina and its neighbor countries each experienced these elements of railroad construction.

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Sue Frohlick, Kristin Lozanski, Amy Speier, and Mimi Sheller

What mobilizes people to take up reproductive options, directions, and trajectories in ways that generate the possibilities and practices of mobilities? People’s desires for procreation or to resolve fertility challenges or partake in sperm donation, egg freezing, or surrogacy; the need for abortion services; and forced evacuation for childbirth care all involve movement. Reproductive aspirations, norms, and regulations move people’s bodies, as well as related technologies and bioproducts. At the same time, these corporeal, material, in/tangible mobilities of bodies, things, and ideas are also generative of reproductive imaginaries and practices. Reproduction is mobile and movement affects reproduction. Building from an interdisciplinary workshop on reproductive mobilities in Kelowna, Canada, this article aims to push the mobilities framework toward the edges of feminist, affect, queer, decolonizing, materialist, and nonrepresentational theories in thinking through both reproduction and movement.