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“Containers, Carriers, Vehicles”

Three Views of Mobility from Africa

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, Jeroen Cuvelier, and Katrien Pype

This aim of this special section is to announce the launch of a new portfolio of articles on African mobilities. The Africa portfolio seeks to open up a new analytical landscape at the crossroads of mobility, transport, and communication

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Kudzai Matereke

size” and displacing it. 19 There is more to say about African mobilities as “a theoretical standpoint” not least for its unflappable potential to serve “as a critique of Western notions of mobility that have been universalized” and also because it

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Anna-Leena Toivanen

complexity—or tragedy—is manifest in most of the analyzed texts. While acknowledging the colonial roots of “modern” mobilities in Africa, it is also necessary to underline, as Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga does, that the study of African mobilities often

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Joshua Grace

Mobility is often mentioned in African history, but rarely is it examined to its full analytical potential. This is unfortunate, in part because in the 1960s the first generation of African historians considered cultures of mobility a means of challenging stereotypes of African backwardness and simplicity. Jan Vansina, for example, used mobility to uncover “complexity” and “efficiency” in African political history—a stated goal of early Africanist historians working to debunk colonial stereotypes—and to challenge the structural-functionalist lens through which colonials and outsiders had understood African identities and social systems. In the following decades, mobility was critical to several aspects of African history—including slavery, women’s history, labor migration, and urbanization. Yet the makings of a recognizable field of African mobility have not emerged until recently.

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Georgine Clarsen and Gijs Mom

-familiarizing it from Western perspectives with a special section devoted to “African Mobilities.” This special section reaffirms what we earlier declared as our political and intellectual commitment to take Africa seriously, not merely as “fodder for imported

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Gijs Mom and Georgine Clarsen

higher than the year before, partly as a result of two special sections (on Travel Writing and African Mobility). Four articles dealt explicitly with literature, and can be considered to be a part of the media and mobility portfolio. None of the

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Fieldwork through the Zoomiverse

Sensing Uganda in a Time of Immobility

Richard Vokes and Gertrude Atukunda

and cultures were understood as rooted in place, when new roads did (inevitably) produce new forms of African mobility, officialdom often cast these as being ‘deviant’ in character – that is, as ‘bad driving’; as movements made for subversive, even

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Laborers, Migrants, Refugees

Managing Belonging, Bodies, and Mobility in (Post)Colonial Kenya and Tanzania

Hanno Brankamp and Patricia Daley

). Using accusations of prostitution to control women's mobility was another practice that persisted well beyond the ending of formal colonial rule. African mobility was encouraged only to colonial spaces of capital accumulation. Colonial authorities also

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Ten Years of Transfers

Mobility Studies and Social Change during a Pandemic

Mimi Sheller

workspace.” His work has long reminded us that humans, insects, animals, and disease travel together, as both vehicles and passengers. 27 The special section on “African Mobilities” helped to push the field of mobility studies toward non-Western analytical

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Zoe Bray and Christian Thauer

China, who do not meet these standards, out of the South African market ( Börzel and Thauer 2013 ). In consequence, there are no cheap cars available in South Africa. Mobility, however, is one of the major obstacles for township inhabitants for gaining