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Ambivalent Mobilities in the Pacific

“Savagery” and “Civilization” in the Australian Interwar Imaginary

Nicholas Halter

Australians traveling to, and through, the Pacific Islands filled diaries, letters, books, magazines, memoirs, and travelogues, many of which found a receptive Australian audience. In this article, I explore Australian travel writing of the interwar period

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The Spectacular Traveling Woman

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

Sarah Galletly

display their modernity and cultivate new social and cultural aspirations. This article builds upon Conor’s analyses of spectacle to consider how the female traveler was depicted in Australian and Canadian periodicals of the interwar period. Although

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Worldly Tastes

Mobility and the Geographical Imaginaries of Interwar Australian Magazines

Victoria Kuttainen and Susann Liebich

, particularly as travel through the Panama Canal boosted Pacific traffic on routes to Europe. Contemporary writing in magazines reflected this outward gaze, yet literary histories of the interwar period have elided this narrative, preferring instead a history of

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Introduction

The Return of Transport Coordination

Gustav Sjöblom

The coordination of transport was heavily debated in the interwar period, as mechanized road traffic for the first time posed a serious challenge to the railways as the backbone of the transport system. The main issues of the interwar period bear resemblances with current challenges for transport policy, and historical studies may improve our understanding of contemporary transport coordination. This introduction sets the stage by discussing the concept of transport coordination and its historiography.

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Iterative Modernism

The Design Mode of Interwar Engineering in Belgium

Greet De Block and Bruno De Meulder

This article traces the implicit spatial project of Belgian engineers during the interwar period. By analyzing infrastructure planning and its inscribed spatial ideas as well as examining the hybrid modernity advocated by engineers and politicians, this article contributes to both urban and transport history.

Unlike colleagues in countries such as Germany, Italy and the United States, Belgian engineers were not convinced that highways offered a salutary new order to a nation traumatized by the First World War. On the contrary, the Ponts et Chaussées asserted that this new limited access road would tear apart the densely populated areas and the diverse regional identities in Belgium. In their opinion, only an integration of existing and new infrastructure could harmonize the historically fragmented and urbanized territory. Tirelessly, engineers produced infrastructure plans, strategically interweaving different transport systems, which had to result in an overall transformation of the territory to facilitate modern production and export logics.

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The Emergence of the Bus Industry

Dutch Transport Policy during the Interwar Years

Ruud Filarski

During the interwar period, the emergence of the bus industry presented many governments with a dilemma: should they intervene in the market to establish a level playing field for fair competition between the buses and rail transport, should they protect the loss-making railways or should they take a laissez-faire approach to the developments?

At first glance, promoting fair competition or, as it was called during those days, a "co-ordination policy" seems relatively simple. The government could impose conditions on the bus industry, which regulated safety, quality, services, and allocation of the infrastructure costs in a similar way as the railways. However, an analysis of the developments in The Netherlands reveals a number of obstacles that complicated policy implementation.

Therefore, this article focuses on two questions: how did bus transport develop in The Netherlands? And what obstacles made it so difficult for the Dutch government to implement fair competition?

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"A Denial of Our Boasted Civilisation

Cyclists' Views on Conflicts over road Use in Britain, 1926-1935

Peter Cox

In the interwar period, cyclists, the most numerous road users, came into increasing conflict with motorists. The debate around road safety and casualties reveals significant differences between the social and political capital available to different classes of road users, despite their legal equality. Drawing on the coverage of the conflict by the Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC) through their monthly Gazette and on the parliamentary record, this article examines how cyclists understood the problem of increasing accident rates and the solutions proffered in press and parliament to address them. The paper considers cyclists in terms of class, representation, power, and status. It further examines how these factors shaped perceptions of the issues at stake in the safety debate in relation to the governance of road space and the appropriate behaviors and responsibilities of road users.

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Travelling Detectives

Twofold Mobility in the Appropriation of Crime Fiction in Interwar Germany

Christian Huck

This article is concerned with travelling detectives in two different but related senses. On the one hand, it considers the relevance of trains and other vehicles of mobility for detective fiction, both as a topic of fiction and a place of consumption. On the other hand, it registers that detective fiction has to “travel“ in a more abstract sense before the reading traveler can enjoy it. German publishers appropriated the genre, originally a nineteenth-century American and British invention, at the beginning of the twentieth century. Based on contemporary observations by German cultural critics Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer, the essay examines German crime-fiction dime novels from the interwar period, compares them to their American predecessors, and analyzes their relationship to mobility and cultural transfer. The text argues that the spatial mobility of the fictional detective is only possible in a specific cultural environment to which the moving but corporeally immobile reader has to be transferred imaginatively.

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Underground Theater

Theorizing Mobility through Modern Subway Dramas

Sunny Stalter-Pace

This article begins from the premise that modern American drama provides a useful and understudied archive of representations of mobility. It focuses on plays set on the New York City subway, using the performance studies concept of “restored behavior” to understand the way that these plays repeat and heighten the experience of subway riding. Through their repetitions, they make visible the psychological consequences of ridership under the historical and cultural constraints of the interwar period. Elmer Rice's 1929 play The Subway is read as a particularly rich exploration of the consequences of female passenger's presumed passivity and sexualization in this era. The Subway and plays like it enable scholars of mobility to better understand the ways that theatrical texts intervene in cultural conversations about urban transportation.

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Road against Rail

The Debate on Transport Policy in Belgium, 1920-1940

Donald Weber

When new motorized means of transport, such as buses, vans, and lorries, captured part of the transport market in Belgium in the interwar period, the rail companies engaged in a political fight to restrict the new modes of road transport. Attempts were made to introduce fiscal and administrative measures aimed at limiting road transport. This coincided with an intense debate on transport policy, both in the press and in parliament. The article focuses on the discourse driving this debate. It is argued that the positions taken were motivated by economic issues, but that there were underlying cultural motivations, different perceptions of what transport should represent in the lives of the users and the whole of society. The focus on the so-called coordination debate is widened beyond the conflict between trains and vans in the 1930s, to include the conflict between automobiles, buses, and trams in the 1920s.