Ten Years of Transfers

Mobility Studies and Social Change during a Pandemic

in Transfers
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  • 1 Drexel University, USA mimi.sheller@drexel.edu


In a brief reflection on the multiple disruptions of mobilities imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this article shows the significance of the scholarship published in Transfers over the last ten years for thinking about the future. Clearly the encounter with a novel and deadly virus—transferred between people, traveling rapidly across geographical regions, crossing over the threshold of our bodies, buildings and borders—has drastically changed many things about us, about cities, about economies, and about the world. An analysis inspired by critical mobility studies highlights the inequities of the mobility disruption, especially in the United States, the importance of histories and representations of mobility for understanding the present situation, and the need for changed choreographies of mobility after the pandemic.

As we live through the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020–2021, and the economic standstill that it has brought with it, the questions first posed by the journal Transfers seem more pertinent than ever: “What is transferred, how, and between whom? As things ‘cross over’, how are they changed? And how are contexts changed by that which moves through them?”1 Clearly the encounter with a novel and deadly virus—transferred between people, traveling rapidly across geographical regions, crossing over the threshold of our bodies, buildings and borders—has drastically changed many things about us, about cities, about economies, and about the world. We try to protect ourselves yet are always uncertain as to when, where, and how exactly the virus is transferred from one person to another. Quarantine has brought an acute new awareness every time we enter into any kind of relation with others. Sociality has moved online, where virtual meetings rule, and continuous webinars exhaust us. Our social context has been completely transformed and our daily lives upended by this invisible virus moving silently through the air, lingering in every breath we exhale and inhale. Now we must wear masks, keep a social distance, avoid large crowds, and work from home if possible (though for many it is not, and for millions of others paying work has disappeared altogether).

When we published a special section of Transfers on “Mobilities in a Dangerous World” in December 2017, few of us had a global pandemic in mind, although I did note in the afterword that “dangerous mobilities have a kind of ‘performativity’ insofar as they cause other things to happen: invasive species spread around the world, affecting entire ecosystems; man-made risks reverberate into cascading catastrophes; diseases spread across mobile vectors.”2 Inspired by the diverse articles in that issue, I suggested that “the historical study of dangerous mobilities sheds contrasting light on the normal patterns and rhythms of mobilities that shape times of safety, times of peace, or dwelling without danger. There are changing temporalities of both danger and mobility that pose a fascinating topic of historical inquiry.”3 Little did I know that living in such a time of danger would soon become normal, similar to what Steve Matthewman described as a new period of generalized, global, pervasive and massive risk, a period of mobile disasters.4 In their studies of relocation after earthquakes, children dealing with floods, or moving through darkness, various contributors to that issue took note of the affects and “vibrations” of sickness, fear, or extreme tiredness, reminding us of the sensations and feelings of the moving body, but also foreshadowing the anxieties of illness entering our bodies.5 In such dangerous times, the very way in which we feel with and through our own bodies changes. While a strange quiet momentarily befell urban streets and even stilled the seismic activity of the earth, due to the elimination of so much of the usual frenetic human activity, now an anxious vibration seems to have entered into our individual and social body as we wonder where the coronavirus is lurking.

The fight against COVID-19 has made us acutely aware of our movements and hypersensitive to the movements of everyone around us. Everything is connected. With many schools and workplaces closed, but also driven by fear, we find our mobilities circumscribed, and there is a possibility for new kinds of temporalities to emerge, along with new forms of relationality. This reminds me of the lessons drawn from the Transfers special section on the “History of Science” (March 2019), in which I suggested in a commentary that the transnational studies gathered there of cropscapes, itineraries of scientific knowledge, and cultural circulation all “demonstrate the deep relationship between mobilities and stabilization, between circulation and place-making, and between what others have called ‘deterritorialization and reterritorialization,’ or ‘uprootings and re-groundings’—which are not intermittent moments but are simultaneous relational processes.”6 As scientific knowledge about COVID-19 began to travel around the world, we were all uprooted from our daily routines and re-grounded in new ways of living, new assemblages of mobilities, immobilities, and unfamiliar temporalities. The virus both deterritorialized governance by exceeding national control, while also reterritorializing many nations by forcing the closure of national borders, sending citizens scurrying home, and expelling foreigners. But it also brought to the fore how many varied mobilities constitute the stability of the routines of everyday life, in patterns that have been laid down over long periods of time. When we meet with a virus we do not recognize, those routines are thrown into disarray, stability goes awry.

In reflecting on this journal's contributions to the study of transport, traffic and mobility over the last ten years, I would like to think about how the work of our contributors, and community of readers and reviewers, offers powerful ways to think about the current situation we find ourselves in. In the first part of this essay, I will review some of the impacts of the pandemic on transportation, highlighting the role of transport inequity and mobility injustice in unevenly distributing exposure to the virus and harms from the economic shutdown. In the second part, I will turn to some wider dimensions of the social and material choreographies of various kinds of mobility assemblages besides transportation, and consider how these diverse mobilities are entangled in various aspects of life.

The Inequities of Mobility Disruption

The pandemic-related economic shutdown has brought many transformations in transport, travel, and mobilities. Our everyday contexts of transport have been drastically affected, along with many other kinds of travel and mobility. Perhaps most symbolic of this mobility disruption in the initial months of the pandemic was the way all kinds of traffic suddenly disappeared in many major cities, bringing a sudden clearing of air pollution and seldom-seen blue skies around the world, along with a new flow of bicycles onto the streets of many cities. In Nature Climate Change, Corinne Le Quéré and colleagues find that during the periods of confinement imposed during the pandemic daily global CO2 emissions decreased between 17 and 26 percent compared to 2019 levels, with just under half from changes in surface transport.7 Thus, inadvertently, the mobility disruption has highlighted what advocates of low-carbon transport have long argued: the temporal rhythms and flows of transport and traffic are socially produced (including the associated burning of carbon driving climate change), and that we might therefore reorganize our lives in other ways that greatly reduce our carbon footprint.

On the other hand, many places have quickly returned to high volumes of traffic, as people take to their cars and avoid public transit in many places. While “most changes observed in 2020 are likely to be temporary as they do not reflect structural changes in the economic, transport or energy systems,” Le Quéré and colleagues argue that their study nevertheless “reveals how responsive the surface transportation sector's emissions can be to policy changes and economic shifts. Surface transport accounts for nearly half the decrease in emissions during confinement, and active travel (walking and cycling, including e-bikes) has attributes of social distancing that are likely to be desirable for some time and could help to cut back CO2 emissions and air pollution as confinement is eased.”8 This suggests the need for a concerted policy effort to promote walking, cycling, and transit-use, to prevent the reversion to automobility, but also that deep decarbonization will require many other policy levers to reach net-zero emissions.

What about longer-distance travel beyond the everyday commute? Maritime and air travel were arguably even more impacted than ground transport and remain in crisis. Cruise ships were the first to stop. Early COVID-19 outbreaks on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Yokohama in February 2020, and the Grand Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined off Oakland in March 2020, sent this industry into a tailspin. Soon thereafter many countries began to close their borders except for returning citizens. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), by early April 2020 more than 130 countries had introduced entry restrictions at their borders, with especially severe effects for refugees and migrants fleeing danger. This left tourists, and other international travelers such as students, scrambling to get home, while many cruise ship workers were exposed to the virus and trapped on ships that were rebuffed from multiple ports of call. Maritime freight deliveries were also severely disrupted, with ports backed up with unshipped containers, and tankers filled to the brim with unwanted oil, floated out to sea, a good reminder that maritime mobilities, a field of study highlighted in this journal by Anya Anim-Addo, are still essential to the global economy.

Airline travel nearly halted when borders were shut. This sudden closure of global transportation networks quickly led to the emptying of hotels, the closing of tourism sites, and a huge downturn in future bookings. By April 2020, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported an “80 percent fall in flights worldwide while the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) calculates that up to 75 million jobs in tourism and travel are currently at risk.”9 Ongoing health concerns until a vaccine is widely available, the decline in many travelers’ disposable incomes, the restructuring of airlines and reductions in service frequencies, and increased industry operating costs are all expected to contribute to an ongoing decline in tourism, possibly “ending the era of cheap long-haul vacations.”10 The sudden shift from “over-tourism” to fears of “non-tourism,” argue Stefan Gössling, Daniel Scott, and C. Michael Hall, indicates an unprecedented crisis for tourism, which “holds important messages regarding the resilience of the tourism system, also in regard to other ongoing crises that are not as immediate, but potentially more devastating than COVID-19, such as climate change.”11

Everyday forms of ground transport also declined steeply. Across the United States, transit networks have seen massive drops in ridership and de-cline in revenue due to stay-at-home orders and associated service reductions. All kinds of office workers began to work from home, and as city centers emptied out, so too did all the businesses serving daily commuters. An initial overview of the situation as of late April 2020, at the height of social distancing, indicated steep reductions in public transit, but a continuing need for “skeleton” essential services to be maintained. In April 2020, for example, New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority saw a 90 percent drop in passenger usage and reported the deaths of 96 transit workers. Passenger counts on commuter rail fell more sharply than those for bus, subway, and light rail systems, as suburban commuters avoided travel. Streets were empty, transit was sparse, and ride-hailing services fell into disuse.

The rise and fall of various modes of transportation has of course been a key topic of historical analysis within transport history. In these pages we have considered the rise and fall of bicycling in urban policy in India (Josi and Joseph 2015), in postsocialist China (Romer Christensen 2017), in a changing Vietnam (Carruthers 2018), and in Stockholm (Emanuel 2019); the critique of automobility and the need for a mobility bill of rights (Newman 2017); the shifting status of cycling in England (Cunningham 2018) and of motorcycling in Athens (Zestanakis 2016); the contribution of car sharing to sustainable mobility transitions (Terama et al. 2018), and the potential for future forms of transportation from the Segway (Clark et al. 2019), to automated vehicles (Goodall 2019), to “smart transportation” (Oswald 2016). All of these topics demonstrate ways we might study specific contexts historically and comparatively to better understand the diverse transformations in transportation that the pandemic is causing around the world.

As cities rush to implement “crisis” planning it is especially important to pay attention to the viewpoints, experiences, and knowledge of marginalized communities who are typically disempowered in planning.12 Our special section of Transfers on “Race and the Politics of Mobility” (March 2016), edited by Judith A. Nicholson and myself, was timely in highlighting the racial politics of uneven mobilities, the over-policing of “black moves,” the “white control of mobility,” the racialization of bus riders and of workers in trucking and delivery, and the biopolitical control of smart borders, all issues which have moved to the fore in the wake of the pandemic.13 The Movement for Black Lives (a coalition of more than 50 groups including the Black Lives Matter organization) has exploded out of such inequities and brought into sharp relief the differing needs for mobility rights of the dispossessed. The journal has also published a whole series of articles on colonial mobilities and postcolonial contestations of mobilities and public space. Here I want to highlight just a few aspects of the pandemic's impact on exacerbating uneven mobilities that could be informed by the historical and cross-cultural lens of Transfers contributions that have focused attention on racial processes and coloniality.

Travel restrictions and social distancing due to COVID-19 have had notably uneven impacts that both reflect and deepen existing patterns of transport-related social, political, and economic inequality throughout the United States. The economic shutdown associated with the pandemic response has revealed deep disparities in the risks and impacts of mobilities (and associated immobilities) in relation to race, class, ethnicity, gender, disability, and other social and political determinants of health, safety, and vulnerability. The drastic adjustments to mobility necessary to control the pandemic and its economic dislocations have brought to the fore numerous instances of mobility injustice built on existing patterns of mobility inequity. A high proportion of white and higher income workers were able to work from home, avoiding much travel altogether. In the US context, the bulk of urban transit riders generally, and bus riders specifically, are poor and people of color, while commuter rail riders earn three to four times the income of bus riders.14 All of these phenomena reflect this journal's interest in the history of “black moves” (Cresswell 2016) and “white control of mobility” (Sharma and Towns, 2016) in the United States, as well as “race and the micropolitics of mobility” on buses in South Africa (Rink 2016), not to mention our interest in “Black Lives Matter Guerrilla Street Signs” (Robbins et al. 2016).

Essential workers were required to go to work, many relying on public transit, yet reduced service meant much longer commutes and possibly higher rates of virus exposure. These low-income essential workers are also disproportionately racialized minorities and immigrants, and it has become clear that these communities have been especially hard hit by disproportionate death rates from COVID-19. This compounds historical patterns of transport inequity and associated health inequities.15 Transit workers who get many people to work were not being well protected, while the reduction in transit ridership has had huge financial implications for the future funding of many urban transit systems. Bus services are essential and will need additional public funding.16 As cities return to full service, there are growing concerns of massive budget shortfalls in transit funding, generating intense debates over how to bring transit back safely, whether to open more streets to bikes and pedestrians, and how to fund transportation in the future.

In response to the need for social distancing and maintaining essential workers’ access, many cities have adopted or accelerated a number of temporary measures, which many advocates had already been promoting and since the pandemic some argue should be made permanent, that is, all-door bus boarding can reduce wait times at stops by more than 30 percent; off-board fare collection can speed up bus services; fare reduction or elimination can boost ridership and aid the neediest. Cities are experimenting with accelerating implementation of bus express lanes or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT); opening streets to cycling and pedestrians, while limiting cars; improving pedestrian facilities and crossings, widening sidewalks; frequent cleaning of vehicles and stations; reducing parking and eliminating free parking. The equitable planning of future transportation could be informed by not only the multiple articles that have appeared in Transfers on topics such as sustainable mobility transitions, cycling, car-dependence, micromobility and autonomous vehicles, but also those that have considered settler-colonial mobilities (vol. 5, no. 3, 2015) as part of the history of the uneven geographies of contemporary cities and regions.

Car drivers and suburban residents were better able to protect themselves and access drive-through services than those who live in transit-dependent urban areas, who also may live in overcrowded and underinvested neighborhoods, which puts them at higher risk of health disparities and virus exposure. Speeding has also increased during the pandemic, placing those who do not have access to automobiles at greater risk for injury and death, with high-injury corridors often located in lower-income neighborhoods and protected bike infrastructure serving mainly gentrified areas.17 Wealthier neighborhoods also have greater access to parks, beaches, and recreational spaces than dense urban communities with a higher proportion of racial and ethnic minority residents,18 allowing for easier social distancing and healthier environments. Many racialized minorities in the United States are unable to escape more overcrowded housing situations, following historical patterns of racialized spatial segregation, mobility policing, and exclusion, through which historian Genevieve Carpio argues “place and mobility make race.”19 These conflicts over the use of roads and road space could be deeply informed by the many articles on the history and representation of roads that have been published in Transfers, including for example volume 5, issue 1, which had a special section on “road representation.”

Cities are creating many miles of “open streets” that close or slow car traffic to provide space for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as restaurants. However, these efforts have been controversial because they frequently define “open” access to public streets through white middle-class needs rather than centering what “open streets” mean for marginalized BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color), immigrant, unhoused communities and groups who bear disproportionate COVID-19 impacts and social distancing enforcement while also often suffering from already existing racist policing and carceral systems in public streets. Black transport planners like Tamika Butler and Charles T. Brown refer to this as “arrested mobility” in a crucial series of interventions in these debates in the United States, pointing out the significance of “white space” and the need for “infrastructural reparations.”20 Other mobility justice scholars like Do Lee also point out that urban delivery bike riders who are relied on for essential services such as food delivery, are often under-paid, under-protected, and many are immigrants who may be heavily surveilled by police and health authorities.21 Current studies of contested “cyclescapes” could draw on the rich histories of conflicts over cycling, such as those by Rutul Joshi and Yogi Joseph on India22 or by Martin Emanuel on Stockholm.23

In sum, there are rich and multifaceted interventions that can be made by scholars in the fields of transport and mobility studies that could contribute immensely to better understanding not only the inequities that have shaped our mobility systems during the pandemic, but also how we might best overcome them as we transition to a post-pandemic world. This demands a wide lens. In India, for example, the mobility crisis took a different stark form, as Arundhati Roy writes:

As shops, restaurants, factories and the construction industry shut down, as the wealthy and the middle classes enclosed themselves in gated colonies, our towns and megacities began to extrude their working-class citizens—their migrant workers—like so much unwanted accrual. Many driven out by their employers and landlords, millions of impoverished, hungry, thirsty people, young and old, men, women, children, sick people, blind people, disabled people, with nowhere else to go, with no public transport in sight, began a long march home to their villages.24

In describing the Indian government's response to the pandemic, she reminds all of us that “[h]istorically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.” And with this beautiful image she bequeaths a historical weight upon us: “We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

Changed Choreographies of Mobility after the Pandemic

In the remainder of this essay I want to pick up another aspect of the editorial statements that Gijs Mom refers to in his piece for this issue, to describe where we stand now in relation to theorizing Transfers “in terms of circulations, assemblages, entanglements, mobile social practices, networks of movement, moving onward, migrations, and the choreographies of bodies within practices of transport. But it also might be conceived of in terms of more temporal processes: instabilities, transformations, subtly shifting performances, and changing representations.”25 Beyond the issues of transportation and daily mobility discussed above, what other aspects of mobile social practices, assemblages, and circulation can we reflect on through the interdisciplinary and transnational analytical lens of Transfers?

First, we have had a strong emphasis in Transfers on questions of the transfer of knowledge and the mobility of ideas, among which we may want to consider how our ideas of disease have traveled, transferred from one place to another, and changed over time, from the theory of miasma to the practice of vaccination, for example. By studying transport, traffic, and mobility through an interdisciplinary lens, across many historical contexts, both comparatively and transnationally, we are better placed to analyze the current transformations and disruptions we are all experiencing. The sensitivity to historical transformations, to differing contexts, to varied assemblages of im/mobilities, and to uneven processes of transition and translation, are crucial orientations for processing the current travails we are all going through. Discourses and representations of mobility matter as much as physical or spatial measures of movement.

Representations of mobility have become crucial to narratives of disease vectors, safety, and public health. As our contributors have shown, institutional narratives of mobility have, of course, always been crucial, whether in colonial Australia and New Zealand (Coleborne 2015), in the settler nation-making of British subjects (Rhook 2015), or in the “semantics of space” of motoring (Walter 2015), or urban railways (Fraser 2015), or “flyover country” (Harkins 2015). That is to say, narrative studies of the rhetoric of mobilities, its symbolic weight, are crucial to understanding its forms. When we grasp for narratives of pandemic (im)mobilities we are reproducing representational systems, or perhaps creating new narratives. Which places are considered safe or dangerous? Who is considered “essential” and who is not? Who is able to move safely through the world, and who must be quarantined or isolated? Especially in the United States, the drama of pandemic (im)mobilities has led to a politicization of the act of wearing a mask, or maintaining social distance, as some Americans claim the “freedom to move” (unmasked) as a constitutional right and engaged in “anti-masker” protests.

Second, there is also the crucial need for an understanding of how disease processes unfold in the longue durée, rather than only focusing on the immediate emergency. How does a pandemic change our culture, our daily practices, and our forms of life, over longer periods of time? While we may feel called upon to reach back into history for a better grasp of what is happening by pointing to singular events (the Medieval plague, the 1918 Spanish Flu, the Great Depression) or periods of difficulty (the fall of the Roman Empire, the Yellow Fever epidemics of the Atlantic world), we also need to think in terms of longer spans of time and interactional processes, not simply singular events. As Pamela H. Smith observes in her study of knowledge systems and their transformation of material complexes as they moved across Eurasia, there are mobile “entangled itineraries” that move “across vast distances and long temporal spans.” In articulating “a method by which historians might follow routes of knowledge-making” that extend over long distances and/or great spans of time, this history of interactions between materials, human-making, and knowledge systems could be suggestive of the need for mobile histories of how humans have come to live with viruses, and how they have changed us.26

Third, we must also consider more-than-human agency in the shaping of human history. In this regard a crucial forerunner to understanding the global pandemic is the important work by Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga on the Tsetse fly as a “transient analytical 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 frameworks, while other special sections have addressed settler-colonial mobilities, and topics such as postcolonial mobilities, which require us to decenter European universals, although much work remains to be done. Thomas Birtchnell's ideas, in the same issue, on “multinatural mobilities” also examined “whether the mobilities paradigm could be more sensitive to recent debates about the more-than-human (animals, plants, and insects) and indeed the inhuman (geological, planetary, and biophysical). Many possible examples spring to mind: the forced movement of people due to ‘natural’ catastrophes, the annual migrations of birds across vast distances, the accidental and intentional spread of invasive weeds,” and we might add the travels of animal-borne pathogens and viruses.28

Finally, then, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic demands that we acknowledge the complex intersections of this world in which viral processes overspill regions and borders, but also reminds us that we must question Western analytical categories and Eurocentric assumptions about knowledge, power, and control. We have seen alarming debates about science, facts, and truth in recent years, and the political conflicts over pandemic control and governance have infiltrated scientific production, especially in the United States where President Trump first downplayed the virus and distorted the reporting of data, then touted untested cures such as hydroxychloroquine and ultraviolet light, then poured billions of dollars into rapid development of vaccines, each of which has distorted the scientific research process and the temporal choreography of finding a cure.29 We are reminded that science is a fragile mobile assemblage that depends on a scientific community who can freely communicate across linguistic and national borders and publish their findings for review among peers. Historically, this scientific public sphere is one of the origins of modern forms of global mobilities.

This brings me full circle back to the importance of communication between the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, and the need for interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives—the very remit of Transfers. In staking out this claim, the stakes seem higher than ever. Transfers has created a context in which these conversations might take place, where we together build a diverse, complex, yet shared understanding of how we move through the world, how the world moves through us, and how we might together face the social changes that are inevitably transforming us. Transformations of transportation and mobilities, along with new ways of orchestrating transfers of culture and knowledge, will be at the heart of whatever happens when we walk through the portal opened by the pandemic into a new historical era.



Mimi Sheller, Editorial, Transfers, Summer 2017.


Mimi Sheller, “Dangerous Mobilities: Afterword,” Transfers 7, no. 3 (December 2017): 112–116, here 114.


Ibid, 113.


Steve Matthewman, “Catastrophes in the Age of Manufactured Uncertainty,” Transfers 7, no. 3 (December 2017): 6–22.


See, e.g., Gail Adams-Hutcheson, “Embodied Vibrations: Disastrous Mobilities in Relocation from the Christchurch Earthquake, Aotearoa New Zealand,” Transfers 7, no. 3 (December 2017): 23–27.


Mimi Sheller, “Comment: The Mobile Itineraries of Knowledge-Scapes,” Transfers 9, no. 1 (March 2019): 87–94, here 88.


Corinne Le Quéré et al., “Temporary Reduction in Daily Global CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 Forced Confinement,” Nature Climate Change, 10, (2020): 647–653, here 647.


Ibid., 652.


Daphne Ewing-Chow, “The United Nations Predicts Billions of Dollars in Tourism Losses for Small Island Developing States,” Forbes Magazine, 27 April 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/daphneewingchow/2020/04/27/the-united-nations-predicts-billions-of-dollars-in-tourism-losses-for-small-island-developing-states/.


David Jessop, “The Way Ahead for Caribbean Tourism,” Dominican Today, 1 May 2020, https://dominicantoday.com/dr/opinion/2020/05/01/the-way-ahead-for-caribbean-tourism/


Stefan Gössling, Daniel Scott, and C. Michael Hall, “Pandemics, Tourism and Global Change: A Rapid Assessment of COVID-19,” Journal of Sustainable Tourism 29, no. 1 (2020): 1–20, here 3, https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2020.1758708.


Melody Hoffmann, Bike Lanes Are White Lanes: Bicycle Advocacy and Urban Planning (Omaha: University of Nebraska Press, 2016); Adonia E. Lugo, Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance (Portland, OR: Microcosm Publishing, 2018); The Untokening, “Untokening 1.0 – Principles of Mobility Justice,” 11 November 2017, http://www.untokening.org/updates/2017/11/11/untokening-10-principles-of-mobility-justice.


See Transfers 6, no. 1 (March 2016) Special Issue on “Race and the Politics of Mobility,” ed. Judith A. Nicholson and Mimi Sheller, including our Introduction, as well as articles by Tim Cresswell, Sarah Sharma, and Armond Towns, Amie McLean, Bradley Rink, Tamara Vukov, and a comment by Cotton Seiler.


Brian D. Taylor and Eric A. Morris, “Public transportation objectives and rider demographics: Are transit's priorities poor public policy?” Transportation 42, no. 2 (2015): 347–367.


Robert D. Bullard and Glenn S. Johnson, eds., Just Transportation: Dismantling Race and Class Barriers to Mobility (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers); Robert D. Bullard, Glenn S. Johnson and Angel O. Torres, Highway Robbery: Transportation Racism and New Routes to Equity (Cambridge: South End Press, 2004).


Kafui Attoh, Rights in Transit: Public Transportation and the Right to the City in California's East Bay (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2019); Stephen Higashide, Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run and Win the Fight for Effective Transit (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2019).


John G. Stehlin, Cyclescapes of the Unequal City: Bicycle Infrastructure and Uneven Development (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019).


Lauren C. Abercrombie, James F. Sallis, Terry L. Conway, Lawrence D. Frank, Brian E. Saelens, and James E. Chapman, “Income and Racial Disparities in Access to Public Parks and Private Recreation Facilities,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 34, no. 1 (2008): 9–15.


Genevieve Carpio, Collisions at the Crossroads: How Place and Mobility Make Race (Oakland: University of California Press, 2019).


See. e.g., the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Symposium, “How Can We Do Better? Limits on Black Mobility in Transportation”, 19 October 2020, https://www.uclaarrowheadsymposium.org/event/limits-on-black-mobility-in-transportation/.


Do Lee et al. (2016) “Delivering (In)Justice: Food Delivery Cyclists in New York City,” in Bicycle Justice and Urban Transformation: Biking for All?, ed. A. Golub, M. Hoffmann, A. Lugo & G. Sandoval (London: Routledge, 2016), 114–129.


Rutul Joshi and Yogi Joseph, “Invisible Cyclists and Disappearing Cycles: The Challenges of Cycling Policies in Indian Cities,” Transfers 5, no. 3 (December 2015): 23–40.


Martin Emanuel, “From Victim to Villain: Cycling, Traffic Policy, and Spatial Conflicts in Stockholm, circa 1980,” Transfers 9, no. 2 (June 2019): 1–26.


Arundhati Roy, “The Pandemic is a Portal,” The Financial Times, 3 April 2020, https://www.ft.com/content/10d8f5e8-74eb-11ea-95fe-fcd274e920ca.


Georgine Clarsen (with Peter Merriman and Mimi Sheller), “Vistas of Future New Mobility Studies; Transfers and Transformations,” Transfers 8, no. 1 (Spring 2018): 112–117.


Pamela H. Smith, “The Movement of Knowledge across Vast Distances and Long Temporal Spans,” Transfers 9, no. 1 (March 2019): 75–86.


Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, “Organic Vehicles and Passengers: The Tsetse Fly as Transient Analytical Workspace,” Transfers 6, no. 2 (June 2016): 74–93.


Thomas Birtchnell, “Mobilities and the Multinatural: A Test Case in India,” Transfers 6, no. 2 (June 2016): 120–127.


President Trump's anti-scientific statements and actions have prompted the unprecedented endorsement of his rival Democratic candidate Joe Biden by the editorial boards of the New England Journal of Medicine and the journal Nature, and a denouncement by the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine of political interference in public health agencies. See Sara Reardon, “Leading Scientists Urge Voters to Dump Trump,” Scientific American, 16 October 2020, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/leading-scientists-urge-voters-to-dump-trump/.

Contributor Notes

Mimi Sheller, Ph.D. is Professor of Sociology, Head of the Sociology Department, and Director of the Center for Mobilities Research and Policy at Drexel University. She is founding co-editor of the journal Mobilities, associate editor of Transfers, and past president of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic, and Mobility. She is author or editor of more than 125 articles and book chapters and twelve books, including most recently Island Futures: Caribbean Survival in the Anthropocene (Duke University Press, 2020) and Advanced Introduction to Mobilities (Edward Elgar, 2021). ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9097-9563. Email: mimi.sheller@drexel.edu


Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies