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Stéphanie Ponsavady

In his famous 1925 travelogue, Roland Dorgelès writes about his first encounter with the Mandarin Road in Indochina:

When you have dreamed for years of the Mandarin Road, the very name of which evokes all the splendors of the Orient, it is not surprising that you experience a flash of annoyance if you are suddenly held up at a corner, between a street-car and an autobus, by some numbskull who triumphantly announces, with the idea that he is delighting you:

“Well, there it is, your Mandarin Road!”

And then he shows you a guidepost with a blue sign, executed in the purest style of the Department of Bridges and Highways, whereon you read simply, “Colonial Road No. 1.”

Disappointment resides in the resemblance with metropolitan roads, signified by a generic blue sign. Dorgelès laments the lack of exotic experience, even though his presence is only permitted by colonial modernization and administrative uniformity. This tension between the desire for alterity and the rationalization ofspace is characteristic of the French experience in colonial Indochina.

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Stéphanie Ponsavady

Almost ten years ago, Gijs Mom invited readers and scholars to hop on the bus to rethink our mobilities with the tools of humanities. This issue marks a change of crew as we transition between two editors. We thank Dagmar Schäfer for her leadership in deepening and challenging our thinking, especially in the areas of mobilities in Asia throughout time. We owe a debt of gratitude to Gina Grzimek, our outgoing editorial assistant, for her work shepherding submissions through their publication and mentoring her successor, Jessica Khan. We now present you an issue born out of our collective work, with the hope that it will take you on a journey both comforting and stimulating. This invitation comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has impeded or suspended our collective mobilities for the foreseeable future. In this context, we want to reaffirm Transfers’s interdisciplinary commitment to explore the ways in which various experiences of mobility have been enabled, shaped, and mediated.

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Indigènes into Signs

Incorporating Indigenous Pedestrians on Colonial Roads in 1920s and 1930s French Indochina

Stéphanie Ponsavady

In Colonial Indochina, the introduction of motorized transportation led French authorities to focus their attention on the issue of pedestrian walking. The political and economic imperatives of the colonial state shaped the modern phenomenon of traffic, which isolated the indigenous body as a sign of otherness. The unruly indigenous pedestrian expressed a discursive and experiential crisis that questioned colonialism itself. This article invites us to examine the political potential of walking by considering Henri Lefebvre's notion of dressage and its limitations in a colonial setting through various examples, from French accounts of indigenous walking in daily activities to political disruptions of traffic by pedestrian demonstrators and the incorporation of indigenous bodies in road safety policies. Repeatedly, colonial subjects eluded, criticized, or undermined the rules of the road and the colony by the simple act of walking.

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Vietnamese Cinema on the Move

Representing Mobility and Circulating Movies in Vietnam and Abroad

Stéphanie Ponsavady

“Where can I see this Vietnamese movie?” Try sitting on board a Vietnamese Airlines jet to Hanoi. In Vietnam, movie theaters have been replaced by multiplexes showing the latest American blockbusters. Foreigners are most likely to encounter Vietnamese cinema for the first time on the move, as they travel to the country, by selecting the World Cinema category of their in-flight entertainment system. Watching a Vietnamese movie will both distract them from the long-haul and give them a taste of their destination culture as they make their way there. Twice the displacement, experiencing Vietnamese cinema has become a vehicle for representations of mobility and an integral part of contemporary travel practices. This review will consider a variety of ways the mutual relationship between cinematic figurations of movement and processes of mobility have shaped Vietnamese cinema.

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Moving the Goalposts

Postcolonial Intersections and Mobilities

Stéphanie Ponsavady

The articles in this issue’s special section strike a balance of disciplines, geographical areas, scales, and seniority levels, and offer thought-provoking examples of studies of postcolonial intersectional locations of mobile people and ideas in Asia. This response seeks to tease out the potential avenues not only for future themes of research but also for innovative methods. It concludes with an invitation to better incorporate intersectionality into our research and acknowledge how it also plays out in our own positionality and understanding of mobility.

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Stéphanie Ponsavady

This current issue marks the tenth anniversary of our journal. The jubilee also coincides and clashes with a critical time for all of us as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. Ten years ago, when Gijs Mom’s team launched Transfers, the journal responded to an urgent need to think through and beyond mobilities scholarship. Today, as our mobilities have been upended and disrupted, it is with a renewed sense of urgency that we must assess the field and the impact of Transfers over the past decade. Indeed, many things have changed since the journal’s founding.

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Heidi Morrison, James S. Finley, Daniel Owen Spence, Aaron Hatley, Rachael Squire, Michael Ra-shon Hall, Stéphanie Vincent-Geslin, Sibo Chen, Tawny Andersen, and Stéphanie Ponsavady

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Jason Lim, Anne-Katrin Ebert, Jennifer Reut, Ernie Mellegers, Malcolm Tull, Liz Millward, Stéphanie Ponsavady, Patricia Lejoux, Nanny Kim, William Philpott, and Steven D. Spalding

Pál Nyíri, Mobility and Cultural Authority in Contemporary China (Jason Lim)

Friedrich von Borries, ed., Berliner Atlas paradoxaler Mobilität (Anne-Katrin Ebert)

Toni Morrison, Home (Jennifer Reut)

Antonio Amado, Voiture Minimum, Le Corbusier and the Automobile (Ernie Mellegers)

Kurt Stenross, Madurese Seafarers. Prahus, Timber and Illegality on the Margins of the Indonesian State (Malcolm Tull)

Gordon Pirie, Cultures and Caricatures of British Imperial Aviation: Passengers, Pilots, Publicity (Liz Millward)

Christine R. Yano, Airborne Dreams: “Nisei“ Stewardesses and Pan American World Airways (Stéphanie Ponsavady)

Christophe Gay, Vincent Kaufmann, Sylvie Landriève, Stéphanie Vincent-Geslin, eds., Mobile/Immobile: Quels choix, quels droits pour 2030/Choices and Rights for 2030 (Patricia Lejoux)

Zhang Ellen Cong, Transformative Journeys: Travel and Culture in Song China (Nanny Kim)

Susan Sessions Rugh, Are We There Yet? The Golden Age of American Family Vacations (William Philpott)

Justin D. Edwards and Rune Graulund, Mobility at Large: Globalization, Textuality and Innovative Travel Writing (Steven D. Spalding)