Andreas Greiner Announcement
Subject Fields
Architecture and Architectural History, Area Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Labor History / Studies

New transportation arteries, mechanized vehicles, and transit hubs are often described as engines of spatial and cultural integration. Mobility infrastructures that have been developed since the nineteenth century up to the present have been at the heart of state-led modernization projects. On both the global and local level, the extension of infrastructures embodies the promises of speed, freedom, and prosperity. Despite the integrative visions of experts, politicians, and corporations, however, the “promise of infrastructure” (Nikhil Anand, Akhil Gupta & Hannah Appel 2018) is never universal. For one thing, infrastructure planning and building reflect uneven power relations and deliberately ignore specific people and places; for another, once built, infrastructural networks often also reinforce these hierarchies, acting as tools of exclusion. Such infrastructural exclusion is the theme of a special issue that we propose to The Journal of Transport History.

Over the past two centuries, transportation infrastructures and the dynamics of exclusion have been entangled in many ways. First, exclusion has occurred whenever new modes of transportation have come to compete with existing infrastructure systems, such as in the
conflicts between cars and pedestrians. Second, contrary to promises that remoter and supposedly uninhabited areas could become integrated, new transportation corridors have often facilitated the dispossession of land and removal of minorities and colonized people. At the same time, specific places and people have ended up being marginal and immobile when infrastructures were not built.

Most importantly, means of transportation and their manifestation in space, such as bus stations and airports, have become sites of exclusion and boundary-drawing. Their regulated access and the usage practices have reinforced categories of race, class, and gender, rendering them more visible in everyday life. The dynamics of exclusion, however, have seldom been all-encompassing. The individuals and collectives affected by infrastructural exclusion or violence have often resisted and/or manipulated the extension and operation of these systems. Likewise, in different places and at different times, people have developed creative everyday practices of subverting the regulated access to mobility infrastructure. Vagrants, undocumented migrants, and other non-licensed users have appropriated the exclusionary systems, turning them to their own ends.

This envisaged special issue explores the (intended or unintended) dynamics of inclusion and exclusion entailed in mobility infrastructures, ranging from the nineteenth century to the present. We invite scholars from different regional and disciplinary backgrounds to study the exclusionary effects in infrastructure planning, its spatial and social practices, its effects on marginalized groups, as well as the resilience and resistance of these groups. The thematic range includes, but is not limited to, the following potential topics:

  • Promises and failures of mobility infrastructures and their discursive representation
  • Power, planning, and intentional exclusion
  • Barriers, class separation, and other material and spatial practices of exclusion
  • Group-specific discrimination and infrastructural violence
  • Resistance, subversion, and appropriation of mobility infrastructures by marginalized actors

The planned special issue will be guest edited by Andreas Greiner, Carolin Liebisch-Gümüş, Mario Peters (all German Historical Institute Washington), and Roland Wenzlhuemer (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich).

Your abstract should include the following items:

  1. Name, affiliation, and email address
  2. Short biography (150 words)
  3. Abstract of 500 words including article title, exposition of case study/research question/outline, relevant theme addressed, and article type.

Please send the above components (in ONE collated word document) to the editors ( Submission deadline: 28 February 2023

In case the proposal gets accepted by the Journal, the deadline for full articles will be 30 September 2023. The guest editors will afterwards work with the authors towards revising their articles. Papers will be subject to a double-anonymized review process.

About JTH and submissions:
Queries before the abstract submission date can be directed to

Contact Information

Andreas Greiner, Carolin Liebisch-Gümüş, Mario Peters (all German Historical Institute Washington), Roland Wenzlhuemer (LMU Munich).

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