EXTENDED CALL – NEW DEADLINE: 27.06.2023
Sofia, 09–11 October 2023
The history of modern technological infrastructure spans over two centuries and includes heterogeneous phenomena: from railroads, sewerage and water pipes, to telecommunications and digital networks. Its construction resembles a techno-world where modern humans live free from the natural constraints of their existence. This is an environment with very different possibilities, problems, freedoms and dependencies. Large infrastructure projects have a decisive influence on social, economic, technical, societal and administrative processes in modern societies. They shape the relations between sedentariness and mobility, define the rhythms and styles of life, consciousness, self-esteem and identity of individuals and groups.
The development of infrastructures has a key relationship to historical change. Infrastructure projects depend on cultural conditions for their emergence, but they also have important consequences for cultural change. They are an instrument for domination and homogenization of territories, for interaction between anonymous individuals, and for the integration of social groups. Transportation and communication infrastructures transform “imagined modern communities” into a new social and techno-cultural reality. They have a strong integrative but also disintegrative function, contributing to the homogenization of populations, making them technological carriers of power ideologies: Eurocentric, colonial or nationalist.Finally, infrastructure projects have their own history: almost two hundred years of development. The progressivist ideology with which they have traditionally been associated has been criticized and reconsidered. But development has not come to a halt, techno- optimism has not disappeared. New, even more far-reaching infrastructure projects are taking the place of the old ones. The role of digital communication, the Internet galaxy and social networks for the integration and disintegration of late modern society is not yet explored: they offer new possibilities but perhaps also unimagined dangers.
We aim to explore the following topics:
- Infrastructures, mobility, migrations: technological nomads, migration flows and “landscapes”, transnational hybrids and technology driven melanges.
- Infrastructures, communication and geopolitics: colonization, decolonization, post- colonization, self-colonization, and their cultural impacts.
- Infrastructures as instruments of social engineering and everyday governance.
- Regulations and resistance in new digital mobility services: capital flows and power constellations.
- Standardization, normalization, and homogenization: leveling of inequalities oremergence of new social inequalities and cultural asymmetries?
- Public transport: mobility services in the face of new technologies and modernization policies; circuits of knowledge production, contested norms and notions of modernity.
- Transformation of infrastructures and the cultural history of cities: centers andperipheries, urban spaces, territories and imagination.
- Historical evolution of infrastructures and evolving social and cultural competencies for their use.
- Forms of infrastructure – forms of cultural imagination: changing concepts, rhetoricsand “aesthetics” of infrastructure (images of the machine; images of progress from secession to geometrism, constructivism and minimalism; retro aesthetics).
- Infrastructure, acceleration, cultural impact. Accelerating infrastructures and their psycho-cultural impact on the individual. Decaying infrastructures, infrastructural disasters, and apocalyptic visions.
Please send a 250-word abstract and a 50-word bio to L_Pozharliev@leibniz-ifl.de and firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 27th of June 2023.
The conference is free of charge. Graduates, doctoral students and participants with financial difficulties whose submissions have been accepted may apply for travel grants of up to € 250 (in the form of reimbursement). A limited number of grants are available and will be given on an individual basis. Applications should detail the cost of travel and the amount applied for in an email to email@example.com.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
- Prof. Dr. Dirk van Laak, Chair at the Institute for 19th to 21st Century History, University of Leipzig
- Prof. Dr. Arnold Bartezky, Head of the Department of Culture and Imagination, Coordinator of Art History at the Leibniz Institute for History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO), Leipzig
- Dr. Wladimir Sgibnev, Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde. Coordinator of the Research GroupMobilities and Migration and Head of the Leibniz Junior Research Group “CoMoDe”, Leipzig
Dr. Lyubomir Pozharliev, Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde Postdoctoral researcher, member of the research group II of the Leibniz Science Campus “Eastern Europe – Global Area” (EEGA), Leipzig
Prof. Alexander Kiossev, Head of the Cultural Centre at Sofia University
Prof. Daniela Koleva, Department of History and Theory of Culture, Sofia University
Dr. Zhana Damyanova, Maison des sciences de l’homme et de la société, Sofia
Continue reading “Call for Papers for the international conference: CULTURE, INFRASTRUCTURE, MOBILITY”
During the third weekend of March 2023, the team of the IfL project Contentious mobilities through a decolonial lens (CoMoDe) hosted – jointly with the Ilia State University – a Symposium in Tbilisi, Georgia. The name of the event was “Knowledge Production in Public Transport – Normativities. Actors. Outcomes”. Since Lela Rekhviashvili, a postdoctoral researcher within CoMoDe, had been studying the public transport reform in Tbilisi, her expertise in the field shaped the conceptual framework of the symposium. Furthermore, a former employee of the Tbilisi city hall – Elene Khundzadze – who was a fellowship-holder at IfL – amply contributed with to the conceptual and organisational preparation of the event.
Continue reading “Knowledge Production in Public Transport: Georgian Symposium of the CoMoDe group”
In the scope of the PUTSPACE project at IfL, Lukas Adolphi, Wladimir Sgibnev and Tonio Weicker published an open-access article on their research and cartographic visualizations on alternative mobility offers or so-called microtransit in Germany in the Journal of Transport Geography.
The paper discusses the role and possible impact of microtransits within mobility transitions through analyzing its hybrid nature in between car-usage and public transport in connection with its further potentials, limitations and corporate structures. The authors dive deep into the current status of microtransit distribution and trends. It is taken into consideration that any growth in this field of mobility happens rather slow and is subject to several limiting factors, so that project initiations rely heavily on experimental clauses by local governments and the existing forms of microtransit are rather diverse, small-scale and cater to very different groups of citizens. Going from there, the article aims to frame a future perspective of microtransit in Germany and sheds a light on this mobility phenomenon with all its struggles and promises through a unique methodology and via providing the first officially published, nationwide mapping in this form of all known microtransit offers.
Read the whole article here.
The interactive version of the mapping, initially published by Wladimir Sgibnev and Lukas Adolphi at Nationalatlas Aktuell can be found here.
New in: A collaborative paper by Louise Sträuli, Tauri Tuvikene, Tonio Weicker, Wojciech Kębłowski, Wladimir Sgibnev, Peter Timko and Marcus Finbom, published in the scope of the Putspace project at IfL.
´The authors investigate how the Covid-19 pandemic affected both the accessibility of urban public transport and its structures themselves. It takes a closer look on the specific governmental regulations regarding urban mobility and points out the struggles of people who were especially affected by the Covid regulations on urban transport systems.
In an extensive mixed-method study, data on the behavior, emotions and struggles of public transport users and urban citizens from Berlin, Brussels, Stockholm and Tallinn has been collected. It is shown, how the regulations transformed general passenger behavior in terms of usage, distances and frequency of travel and that certain narratives and passengers emotions as well as their socio-economic conditions have to be taken into account when trying to understand the realm of public transport in times of crisis.
Read the full open-access paper here!
A new collaborative text by Tim Leibert, Lela Rekhviashvili and Wladimir Sgibnev explores the complex, structural and historic linkage between capitalist neo-extractivism and mobilities of globalization. It brings up the argument, that facets of mobility should always be taken into consideration when talking about extractivism and calls for a general shift in perspective on debates regarding sustainable development and mobility transitions. The authors argue that mobilities of a consumerist culture almost automatically exacerbate extractivism at the cost of the global south and exploited regions on multiple levels.
The text was originally published in german on the “Berliner Gazette” as a contribution to the ongoing series on the BG platform “After Extractivism”, which can be read here. The english version was published on Mediapart.
In their newest open access article Wladimir Sgibnev, together with our colleagues Laura Kemmer, Tonio Weicker and Maxwell Woods showcase how postsocialism and postcolonial studies can be brought into dialogue and learn from one another. Their contribution is based on the comparison of the historical case studies of tramway lines construction in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Kharkiv, Ukraine.
The article further investigates specific historical trajectories of mobility development in the postsocialist urban context and thereby draws converse lines to western hegemonial narratives of the modern city.
Read the full article here.
This editorial introduces and contextualises the Special Issue on informalities in urban transport and mobility in cities across the Global South, East and North. It identifies a mutual misrecognition between the urban studies literature on informality and research on transport and mobilities, and proposes that urban mobility be understood as a critical site of contestations over (in)formalisation processes. Continue reading “Freshly published: Geoforum Editorial on informalities in urban transport and mobility”
The Mobility Forum at TUB invites us to join on 19.05.2022, 10:00-12:00 (Berlin time zone, UTC+1). Topics of the session are going to be Tensions on tracks: The closure of the tramline routes in the course of the opening of the Subway in Sofia, presented by Dr. Lyubomir Pozharliev and Urban growth, transport system and environment: a comparative study of Bike-sharing practice, presented by Bermet Borubaeva (Bishkek School of Contemporary Art). The Lecture is free of charge and open for everyone. You can join the forum online or in room 3116 in ZTG, TU Berlin, no registration needed.
More information here.