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About the 2023 GMHC and T²M Annual Conference  

Aesthetics (aesthesis) is increasingly being paid attention to by mobilities scholars studying not only artistic but also everyday practices. It is also being considered by those interested in mobility histories, technologies, infrastructures, and (urban) designs, who explore senses, emotions, and affects emerging, circulating, and dispersing between, among, and throughout bodies and others. Taking note of “movement enacted, felt, perceived, expressed, metered, choreographed, appreciated and desired” (Pearce and Merriman 2017, 498), for example, aesthetics means grappling with “queries concerning worldly encounters with site, the body and the senses, and around materiality and practices” (Hawkins and Straughan 2015, 2). Aesthetics may mean (an)aesthetics too (Bissell 2022; Sieverts 2007): to consider in what ways our capacities to feel and sense may be not only enlivened but lessened or deadened—desensitised—when on the move, both presently and in history.

As “movement is made of time and space,” so are “moving people and objects […] agents in the production of time and space,” that practise, experience, and embody mobility (Cresswell 2006, 3-4). Mobilities can configure a time and space of gathering and/or scattering, communing (Nikolaeva et al., 2019) and/or monopolising, or in abundance and/or extinction from local to planetary. As both formative and (kin)aesthetical, they encourage us to ponder, judge, and perform what is good, valuable, and acceptable, calling attention to our responsibilities for others, the environment, and the globe. Which quality of time and space do we, with objects, commit to, are we producing, and should we be part of, via mobilities?  

Mobilities are both aesthetic and coloured with ethical values. Many mobilities researchers have taken mainly sustainability and/or climate change as their starting point to address and accept the ethics of mobilities (Freudendal-Pedersen 2014, 143), while recognising how aesthetic is a crucial element of transport imaginaries (and marketing). We, in addition, can explore ethics in everyday mobilities, as well as mobility histories, infrastructures, technologies, and policies, recognising bodily mobilities, e.g., such as dancing, bicycling, migrating, and touring, as both aesthetic and ethical. The conference seeks to enquire into the aesthetics and ethics of mobilities not (only) separately but (also) connectedly.

This conference invites proposals from different disciplines within mobility studies, including, but not limited to: literary, cultural, art and design studies, philosophy, history, anthropology, geography, media and communication, architecture, urban planning, technology, tourism, transportation, education, Black and Indigenous studies, gender and sexuality studies, and others. It will present an opportunity for scholars to share their ideas and inquiries at the intersection of mobilities studies and humanities, transcending the conventional divide between the social sciences and humanities and the arts. 

Co-Organised by 

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The International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T²M) was founded in 2003 to stimulate and support studies of the movement of people, things and ideas in all periods and societies in the past. T²M is incorporated as a non-profit, interdisciplinary educational organization, originally based at the Technical University of Eindhoven in The Netherlands. Our mission is the establishment of a collegial association of scholars, practitioners and concerned citizens to encourage and promote an understanding of the historical interaction between transport, traffic and the mobility of people, material objects and ideas. This includes the linkages between mobility systems and a wide range of social and cultural factors – e.g. politics and public policy, labor and business, science and technology, tourism and travel, media and the arts, and crucial questions of sustainability and the environment. Today transport history shares interdisciplinary interests and methods with mobilities research, urban studies, geographies of mobility, and the study of media and communication.

The Academy of Mobility Humanities (AMH) of Konkuk University intends to create innovative research platforms to deal with the development of mobility technology, the daily movement of things, and their connected issues. The AMH is the leading research institute for Humanities Korea Plus (HK+), supported by the National Research Foundation since 2018. The AMH hosts the annual GMHC. The AMH attempts to help to cultivate a better society for humanities-based thinking. In doing so, we aim to become one of the main representative institutes of mobility research internationally, which also fosters new researchers. The AMH continues to evolve as a center from where mobility-focused research engages practical as well as scholarly questions that are planetary in scope.


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