14th Annual Conference of The International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T2M), Mexico City, October 27th-30th, 2016.

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Call for Papers
March 18, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Communication, Environmental History / Studies, Geography, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Urban History / Studies

T2M Mexico City 2016 Conference

Call for Papers

MOBILITIES: Space of Flows and Friction

MEXICO CITY, 27-30th October 2016

Conference website: http://ocs.sfu.ca/t2m/index.php/t2m/T2M2016

Abstract submission deadline: March 18


The International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T²M) invites proposals for panels and papers to be presented at our 14th Annual Conference to be held in Mexico City, October 27th-30th, 2016.

The overarching topic “Mobilities: Spaces of Flows and Friction” aims to highlight the relationships between mobility and space, its temporality and production. These multiple relationships have been expressed in ideas such as territorialisation and de-territorialisation, movement-space, space-time and claims that state space is an effect of motion. Mobility studies and mobility history help us to think about space as dynamic, relational, open, in-process, networked, and therefore, as made of and making possible motion. At the same time, space can help us to think of the ways in which mobility is not just an abstract movement but takes (and makes) “place”, that is to say it has physical geographies, historical rhythms, and occupies concrete socio-technological constellations that include durable infrastructures, vehicles, corridors, gates, or barriers.

Beyond its materiality, spaces of mobility may take shape as social, cultural and embodied relationships. Moreover, space can be seen not only as made up of flows but also of congestion, as moments of friction or stillness from national borders to bus stops. Flows and frictions not only show us the importance of mobility in the production of space but also how mobility is “spatialized.” Focusing on how those spaces were and are materially, socially and symbolically constructed, helps us to see how mobility is uneven – shaping and shaped by power relations, hence always political. Frictions’ histories remind us that mobility has not always been smooth and spaces of mobility tend and have always tended to (re)produce geometries of power since flows are conducted, regulated, controlled and governed. Frictions make spaces of mobility more visible and transparent, helping us to understand conditions such as design, social and material configurations, potentials for rearrangement, and user adoption or rejection.

We hope to trigger new debates on space, time, and mobility, especially considering that our city venue itself will be a challenging, multilayered, massive and over-congested network of flows. Mexico City with its 24+ million inhabitants, besides being one of the largest cities in the world, is also one of the busiest transportation hives of the planet. Its “mega-mobility” connects to urban and transport policy mobilities across Latin America, and beyond, as permanent urban growth generates huge investments and new infrastructure. What kind of spaces are we producing through time? Can a new perspective, wherein mobility is central to understanding space, help us to re-write the ways in which those spaces were produced and re-think how they are lived?

Urbanism now extends beyond cities to include “operational landscapes” of agricultural hinterlands, mining and extraction enclaves, and even ex-urban touristic natural parks and preserved wilderness. Urban metabolism includes the circulation of energy, water, foods, and other “eco-system services” that may connect (or not) to the regional, national or global networks. Finally, at an international scale, the vicinity of Mexico with the USA naturally triggers questions about borders as spaces of flows and friction, the interaction of the continent with remote places through legal and illegal trade and traffic.


We therefore call for papers on a range of issues pertaining to mobility, temporality and space, including themes such as:

* Scales (revisited): the global, the regional, the metropolitan, the rural, the non rural, the wild, edges, enclaves, fragments

* Assembling spaces: mobile policies, mobile urbanism, planning, design, construction and destruction, resilience and adaptation

* Space-time qualities: rhythms, process, speed, waiting, slowness

* Virtual/media spaces: mobile media, digital (dis)connection, virtual travel

* Ordering spaces, regulating flows and contested spaces: boundaries, control, blockage, congestion, informality, occupation, frontiers and borders

* Living space through (e)motion: experiences, body as a mobile space, performance, intimate spaces, lived, imagined and situated spaces of mobility

* Networked spaces: connecting and disconnecting, accessibility, uneven space, splintering urbanism

* Operational landscapes: infrastructures for urban provisioning, urban political ecology, concentration and dispersion

* Flows of (de)centralization: current debates between core and periphery.

Papers may address the conference theme, or other social, cultural, economic, technological, ecological and political perspectives on the history, present, and future of transport, traffic and mobility. This mobility history conference openly aims to bridge research approaches, welcoming proposals from different disciplines dealing with mobility studies (history, sociology, anthropology, geography, economy, planning studies, business history, architecture, design, communication, etc.) We particularly encourage the submission of interdisciplinary panels.

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