Editorial

in Transfers
Author:
Cotten Seiler
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Although the phrase “please allow me to introduce myself” can perhaps no longer be uttered without calling forth the Lucifer figure that the Rolling Stones sing about in “Sympathy for the Devil,” I can't think of a better line to greet Transfers readers and tell you a bit about myself as I assume editorship of the journal. Whatever you think of that Satanic scamp, one must admit that he got around, geographically and temporally, and that traveling with him was almost certainly never boring.

Although the phrase “please allow me to introduce myself” can perhaps no longer be uttered without calling forth the Lucifer figure that the Rolling Stones sing about in “Sympathy for the Devil,” I can't think of a better line to greet Transfers readers and tell you a bit about myself as I assume editorship of the journal. Whatever you think of that Satanic scamp, one must admit that he got around, geographically and temporally, and that traveling with him was almost certainly never boring.

Before I embark on that introduction, however, big thanks and accolades are in order. The first set of these goes to Stéphanie Ponsavady and her excellent assistants Jessica Khan and Rachel Wachman. They have set a high bar indeed for the kind of organization, communication, diligence, and creativity that drive an innovative and broad-ranging journal like the one you hold in your hand (or more likely, that glows on your screen). During their tenure, Stéphanie and her team put in place systems that have proven indispensable to me and my editorial team, and have guided us through the transition ably and patiently. The issue before you is their handiwork, as is much of volume 12. We hope to replicate in future volumes the high caliber of what they have delivered.

The lion's share of the work of the transition was undertaken by Lily Bibro, editorial assistant extraordinaire. Throughout the process I've relied on her diligence, competence, and organizational and analytical skills, not to mention her good humor. Readers will notice an immediate change to the journal in its new cover design, about which we are very excited. The initiative for that design, which will offer to Transfers readers a visual cue as to what's inside each issue, was spearheaded by Lily and created by the graphic designer Megan Dale. As Lily departs to pursue her studies in literature, her replacement, Walker Kmetz, has gotten quickly up to speed thanks to the resources for workflow and continuity that she crafted.

With this issue begins a two-part “Unruly Landscapes” Special Section, edited by Margherita Cisani, Laura Lo Presti, Lynne Pearce, Giada Peterle, and Chiara Rabbiosi. It has been a recent pleasure to correspond with Lynne as this Special Section moves into the final stages of preparation. She and her co-editors have provided in this issue a fine and thought-provoking introduction that lays out the stakes and rewards of thinking through the relations of landscape to mobility. Thanks are due also to Janine Latham at Berghahn, who has welcomed our new editorial team and its ideas.

I happily return to Transfers after helping Gijs Mom and the group he convened over a decade ago to found the journal, and more recently having served on its editorial board. My training is in the unabashedly interdisciplinary field of American Studies—not an ideal name, my colleagues and I realize, for what is essentially a cultural studies enterprise interrogating the strange, transnational creature called “America.” My research has focused on automobility in the United States and China, and my current book project considers the racial politics of infrastructure provisioning. After years of this work, I'm finally coming to understand that what interests me are the hidden foundations—ideological, racial, historical—of the things we see and do every day, things so quotidian, like driving and turning on a tap for water, that we (at least most of us in the amply provisioned global North) no longer quite see them.

After reflecting, in the pages of the issue prior to this one, on Transfers’ accomplishments (and its blind spots), I look to the horizon with optimism and excitement. If I may borrow a keyword from our Special Section, mobility studies is poised to explore and produce new knowledge on the unruliness of our world. Indeed, the concept of mobility itself resists and bursts disciplinary boundaries, and otherwise misbehaves in powerfully generative ways. I look forward to Transfers’ future as a crucial site for work that traverses and transgresses the borders that cleave the social and natural sciences and the humanities from one another. So, friends—readers, authors, thinkers—let's get unruly.

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Transfers

Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies

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