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Culture(s) of Mobility (Netherlands) - Alexander von Humboldt Lectures Series:

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  • Eric Britton
    Thanks to David Levinger for the heads-up The Alexander von Humboldt Lectures Series: CULTURE(S) OF MOBILITY a lecture series on the mobility turn in Human
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 30, 2009
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      Thanks to David Levinger for the heads-up

      The Alexander von Humboldt Lectures Series:

      CULTURE(S) OF MOBILITY


      a lecture series on the mobility turn in Human Geography


      Programme
      The Department of Human Geography at the Radboud University of Nijmegen
      cordially invites you to our Lecture and Seminar Series on the theme of
      'Culture(s) of Mobility'.

      See also http://socgeo.ruhosting.nl/humboldt
      Map of campus
      (http://www.ru.nl/contents/pages/2731/ruwegw.sitened06-2006.pdf)

      Click here for a more detailed description of this programme:
      http://socgeo.ruhosting.nl/content/programmedescription.html



      Lectures and Seminars
      The following Alexander von Humboldt Guests take part in our programme:
      (clicking on a name will bring you to their personal homepage)
      Prof. Peter Peters (Department of Philosophy, University of Maastricht, NL)
      Prof. Vincent Kaufmann (Department of Sociology, Ecole Polytechnique
      Fédérale de Lausanne, CH)
      Prof. Guy Baeten (Department of Geography, Lund University, Sweden)
      Prof. Tim Cresswell (Department of Geography, Royal Holloway University of
      London, UK)
      Prof. John Urry (Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, UK)


      Prof. Peter Peters (Department of Philosophy, University of Maastricht, NL)
      Alexander von Humboldt Lecture: "Travel Time in Technological Cultures"

      Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010, 17:30-19:30
      Gymnasion
      Heyendaalsweg 141
      6525 AJ Nijmegen
      Room GN3

      Abstract: Travel takes time. And because we experience time as scarce,
      innovations in the way we travel generally aim at reducing the amount of
      time a journey takes. In this lecture, I will challenge the basic assumption
      underlying this line of thinking, the idea that the time spent travelling
      can be reduced to a neutral and measured unity which can be saved if we
      speed up. The core of my argument is that travel not only takes time, but
      that it also makes time. In examining every day travel practices, I argue
      that travel time can also be understood as the product of situated transit
      practices. Thus I hope to provide a pragmatic understanding of the way
      people actually travel in order to open up new perspectives on both mobility
      innovations and on the study of travel in technological cultures.
      Along with transportation economists, urban planners, social geographers and
      traffic engineers, I argue that travel time is of pivotal importance for
      grasping the character of the problems of increased mobility. Economic and
      geographical models that explain and calculate travel demand using
      quantifiable unit of time shape the vocabulary we have at our disposal to
      discuss mobility problems and their solutions. Yet this vocabulary has its
      limits when used to explain the success and failure of mobility innovations.
      Recently, greater emphasis has been given to local processes of daily
      travel, developments in transportation and communications infrastructures,
      and the cultures related to mobility.
      In my lecture, I contribute to this emerging field by analysing and studying
      'mobilities' as practices of travel. The word 'travel' has different
      meanings. It refers not just to a state of mobility, but to a meaningful
      activity that has a long cultural and social history. It not only engenders
      a movement in space and time, but also assumes the subjectivity of
      experiences as well as the inter-subjectivity of texts and discourses. In my
      practice-oriented approach, travel cannot reduced to getting from A to B as
      quickly and as smoothly as possible - the underlying assumption in
      mainstream transportation research vocabularies on mobility - but instead,
      travel has to be treated as an integrated part of everyday life, as a
      'normal' practice.

      In order to travel, I claim, we need to construct 'passages' that produce a
      situated relation between time and space. How this is achieved in practice
      can be described on three levels. As heterogeneous orders, passages assume
      both material and discursive elements. As planned yet contingent orders,
      they must be 'repaired' continuously in real time. And as orders that both
      include and exclude people, places and moments in time, they are inherently
      political and have to be justified and legitimated. This conceptual
      framework enables us to examine innovations in travel in a new way: how can
      they be conceived of as passages? How are passages created? What are the
      politics of these new passages? In designing and innovating passages, travel
      time is constructed. Shorter travel times can therefore never be a
      sufficient argument for mobility innovations; instead we should envision
      different possible passages and present them as argued choices, not between
      different speeds, but between different 'worlds'.

      Prof. Vincent Kaufmann (Department of Sociology, Ecole Polytechnique
      Fédérale de Lausanne, CH)
      Alexander von Humboldt Lecture: "Re-thinking mobility"

      Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010, 17:30-19:30
      Gymnasion
      Heyendaalsweg 141
      6525 AJ Nijmegen
      Room GN3

      Abstract: Since the Second World War, it is true that we go faster and
      farther; but, practically speaking, our journeys on a day-to-day basis take
      more and more time. This has been the experience of many; identities that
      were once upon a time locally rooted have now become multiple and
      cosmopolitan. Low-cost travel options have also left their mark on the
      economy by contributing to its globalisation and transforming modes of
      production. With the context as such, it is no longer possible to think of
      nation-states as autonomous societies vis-à-vis one another, nor of
      geographical areas as homogenous spaces cordoned off by distinct borders. In
      short, the conditions under which movement takes place has changed and is
      still changing the world - a world that is living what many social
      scientists call the 'mobility turn'. This mobility turn is at the heart of
      global change, acting upon all aspects of economic, political and social
      life. Practically speaking, it results in the unprecedented growth of
      transportation and telecommunications flows. This growth brings with it
      various problems at the practical level such as: chronic traffic jams of
      roadways, railways and airports; environmental problems ranging from
      atmospheric and sonic pollution to in-ground waste; and problems of energy
      consumption. In cities in particular this means problems of social and
      spatial cohesion the likes of which have never been seen, problems with the
      cognitive management of information, and finally an increase in societal
      friction (multicultural tensions, local and global struggles). Many experts
      (oft times engineers) have offered potential solutions to these different
      problems, but these solutions are for the most part limited, controversial
      and more often than not seek to treat the consequences rather than going
      straight to the source of the problem. Acting on mobility production
      supposes having identified the logics of action that underlie movement (the
      motives and the means of mobility: why do we move? how?) and their impact
      (what are the results of movement in terms of space? how, in return, does
      urban layout influence movement?) Only once we have taken an in-depth look
      at the mobility conditions of today can we offer innovative solutions to the
      question, 'How can we act upon "why" and "how" people move?' These are key
      questions in mobility research - questions that are central to my own
      research activities and which enable me to rethink contemporary urban
      dynamics (social, geographical and political) in an original way. Giving
      relevance to these questions supposes two pre-conditions:
      1. It is crucial to not confine mobility analysis to notion of
      transportation alone. Transportation, whether of objects or individuals,
      stem more often than not from a need rooted in human activities. Returning
      to the rationales that regulate movement subsequently leads to an
      exploration of their political and social consequences, allowing for an
      in-depth analysis of the structure and functioning of contemporary
      societies. In other words, it is not only a question of considering changes
      in lifestyles (pluralism, individualism, etc.) but also the new social and
      technical forms that prompt them (evolution of economic structures,
      technological innovation, changes in values, etc.) and the issues they give
      rise to (new forms of inequality, opportunities, physical tension,
      socio-cultural conflicts, etc.)
      2. It is important to develop appropriate conceptual tools to tackle the
      'mobility turn'. The extent of this turn is so important that movements -
      their why, how and the way they change landscapes and societies - can no
      longer be fully understood with static notions, externals to social actors.
      The broadening of transportation options has indeed introduced new realms of
      choices at the centre of everyday life (about residential location,
      utilisation of transportation means, amenities). Such choices suppose
      individuals will use of technical skills and have enough imagination to
      appropriate technical systems to be able to benefit from them for their
      personal and collective (i.e. entrepreneurial) plans. Technical and social
      innovations are constantly changing the access and competency that enable
      mobility. This results in the fact that individuals and social groups must
      continually and imperatively adapt. The main challenge now facing research
      at this level consists in developing tools capable of describing and
      analysing mobility and its social and spatial implications, the goal being
      to equip ourselves with the necessary means of action for dealing with it
      without having a negative impact at the territorial, economic, social or
      environmental levels.


      Research Seminar with Prof. Vincent Kaufmann
      Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010, 10:45-12:30
      Thomas van Aquinostraat 3
      Room 3.00.27


      Together with Prof. Vincent Kaufmann we discuss his current research
      programme and ideas for future research. As kick-off for this discussion
      Prof. Vincent Kaufmann will (briefly) present his current research and
      topical issues in the academic debate. At the same time we will discuss the
      questions directed to Prof. Kaufmann by the other Humboldt Lecturers in this
      series. Prof. Peter Peters and/or his assistent Sanneke Kloppenburg will
      accompany us in these discussions throughout the whole series.


      PhD./Researchers Workshop with Prof. Vincent Kaufmann
      Friday, Feb. 12, 2010, 10:45-12:30
      Thomas van Aquinostraat 3
      Room 3.00.27

      Researchers present their own research work (in progress) and discuss this
      with Prof. Vincent Kaufmann and with the audience. Internal and external
      researchers and PhD-students are cordially invited to participate.
      Especially also PhD-students or Researchers from the inter-university
      networks NETHUR and TRAIL are kindly invited. To present and discuss your
      research please register in advance with Prof. Huib Ernste
      (h.ernste@...)


      Prof. Guy Baeten (Department of Geography, Lund University, Sweden)
      Alexander von Humboldt Lecture: "Contradictions of Mobility and Degenerate
      Utopias in Post-Political Times"

      Wednesday, March. 10, 2010, 17:30-19:30
      Room to be announced


      Abstract: Mobility, both at global and local scales, is caught in a set of
      contradictions that seem increasingly difficult to solve under contemporary
      political conditions. First, while the Orient is experiencing the
      establishment of mass motorized transport, comparable to the 'golden age' of
      Fordism in occidental countries in the 50s and 60s, the scientific and
      political communities (of the west) are warning for insurmountable global
      environmental problems caused by the explosion of motorized transport.
      Second, in times when grand environmental envisioning is needed to tackle
      those planetary challenges, the appeal of established environmental visions
      such as 'sustainability' is slowly crumbling. The degeneration of
      intellectual certainties of the recent past makes it near to impossible to
      frame mobility problems and mobilize response. Third, it seems that the gap
      between those who are empowered by transport possibilities, and those who
      are disempowered by the lack of them, continues to widen. The (re)production
      of divides based on gender, class, race and ethnicity through the removal of
      mobility barriers for some and the creation of mobility barriers for others,
      urgently needs to be readdressed. Finally, inspired by the works of
      Rancière, Swyngedouw and Dikeç, it will be investigated how a search for
      'mobility justice' is possible in post-political times.

      Research Seminar with Prof. Guy Baeten
      Thursday, March 11, 2010, 10:45-12:30
      Thomas van Aquinostraat 3
      Room 3.00.27


      Together with Prof. Guy Baeten we discuss his current research programme and
      ideas for future research. As kick-off for this discussion Prof. Guy Baeten
      will (briefly) present his current research and topical issues in the
      academic debate. At the same time we will discuss the questions directed to
      Prof. Guy Baeten by the other Humboldt Lecturers in this series. Prof. Peter
      Peters and/or his assistent Sanneke Kloppenburg will accompany us in these
      discussions throughout the whole series.


      PhD./Researchers Workshop with Prof. Guy Baeten
      Friday, March. 12, 2010, 10:45-12:30
      Thomas van Aquinostraat 3
      Room 3.00.27


      Researchers present their own research work (in progress) and discuss this
      with Prof. Guy Baeten and with the audience. Internal and external
      researchers and PhD-students are cordially invited to participate.
      Especially also PhD-students or Researchers from the inter-university
      networks NETHUR and TRAIL are kindly invited. To present and discuss your
      research please register in advance with Prof. Huib Ernste
      (h.ernste@...)


      Prof. Tim Cresswell (Department of Geography, Royal Holloway University of
      London, UK)
      Alexander von Humboldt Lecture: "On Turbulence"

      Wednesday, March 24, 2010, 17:30-19:30
      Gymnasion
      Heyendaalsweg 141
      6525 AJ Nijmegen
      Room GN3

      Abstract: This paper considers the importance of the notion of turbulence
      for the theorisation of mobility. Turbulence is the product of friction
      between different kinds of flow. It can be contrasted with smooth 'laminar'
      flow - where everything is moving 'correctly'. This paper borrows from
      physics and mathematics as well as the philosophies of Michel Serres and
      Manuel Delanda to think about turbulence as a process which makes visible
      the orderings of infrastructural mobilities. The issue of turbulence -
      incorrect and unpredictable mobilities - will be at the heart of the paper
      which will form a discussion of turbulent mobilities in a number of
      different instances, illustrated by examples from the vagrants of medieval
      Europe to the shipping of containers and the infrastructure of the Internet.
      I will contrast the smooth operation of infrastructural mobilities that are
      supposed to remain silent and invisible with the dramatic and very visible
      instances of turbulence, that no system can ever predict or make disappear,
      which provides an entry point into the ordering of a mobile world.


      Research Seminar with Prof. Tim Cresswell
      Thursday, March 25, 2010, 10:45-12:30
      Thomas van Aquinostraat 3
      Room 3.00.27

      Together with Prof. Tim Cresswell we discuss his current research programme
      and ideas for future research. As kick-off for this discussion Prof. Tim
      Cresswell will (briefly) present his current research and topical issues in
      the academic debate. At the same time we will discuss the questions directed
      to Prof. Tim Cresswell by the other Humboldt Lecturers in this series. Prof.
      Peter Peters and/or his assistent Sanneke Kloppenburg will accompany us in
      these discussions throughout the whole series.


      PhD./Researchers Workshop with Prof. Tim Cresswell
      Friday, March 26, 2010, 10:45-12:30
      Thomas van Aquinostraat 3
      Room 3.00.27

      Researchers present their own research work (in progress) and discuss this
      with Prof. Tim Cresswell and with the audience. Internal and external
      researchers and PhD-students are cordially invited to participate.
      Especially also PhD-students or Researchers from the inter-university
      networks NETHUR and TRAIL are kindly invited. To present and discuss your
      research please register in advance with Prof. Huib Ernste
      (h.ernste@...)


      Prof. John Urry (Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, UK)
      Alexander von Humboldt Lecture: "After the Car"

      Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 17:30-19:30
      Gymnasion
      Heyendaalsweg 141
      6525 AJ Nijmegen
      Room GN3

      Abstract: An examination of the path dependence of the car system which has
      so dominated the twentieth century. In some ways that century has been the
      'century of the car'. In this paper I examine the array of small changes
      occurring throughout the world that indicate the possibilities that a
      post-car system is in process of emergence. Is such a post-car personal
      vehicle system in process of being formed? When and how could the
      steel-and-petroleum car be superseded? What might be the small changes that
      could provoke such a new system to be established?


      Research Seminar with Prof. John Urry
      Thursday, April 22, 2010, 10:45-12:30
      Thomas van Aquinostraat 3
      Room 3.00.27

      Together with Prof. John Urry we discuss his current research programme and
      ideas for future research. As kick-off for this discussion Prof. John Urry
      will (briefly) present his current research and topical issues in the
      academic debate. At the same time we will discuss the questions directed to
      Prof. John Urry by the other Humboldt Lecturers in this series. Prof. Peter
      Peters and/or his assistent Sanneke Kloppenburg will accompany us in these
      discussions throughout the whole series.


      PhD./Researchers Workshop with Prof. John Urry
      Friday, April 23, 2010, 10:45-12:30
      Thomas van Aquinostraat 3
      Room 3.00.27


      Researchers present their own research work (in progress) and discuss this
      with Prof. John Urry and with the audience. Internal and external
      researchers and PhD-students are cordially invited to participate.
      Especially also PhD-students or Researchers from the inter-university
      networks NETHUR and TRAIL are kindly invited. To present and discuss your
      research please register in advance with Prof. Huib Ernste
      (h.ernste@...)


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