Call for papers

*The conference is currently planned as an online event. Depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is the possibility of organising the conference on site. Please check regularly for updates on the conference website.*

💡 Extended Deadline: May 15

Transport and mobility have long been associated with the circulation of people/bodies, goods/matter, elements/microorganisms, and ideas/thoughts within and across territories. As some authors claim, we live in an age of movement, or, what Thomas Nail calls the Kinocene. In recent years, scholars engaging with the mobilities paradigm have analysed how those fluxes are moulded by or create new patterns of power, identities, and everyday micro-geographies. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the Kinocene with the restrictions to mobility that ensued, but it has also provided an opportunity to open up the discussion about the next historical transition of transport and mobility: will it be a transition to individual, less frequent and slower movement? Will it encourage increased sedentarism? What will its impact be on the challenge of global warming?

The COVID-19 pandemic also provides a telling example of the circulation of a microorganism using the human body as a vehicle, and forcing societies to face the edges of a possible future: taking us back to, for example, a car-oriented mobility; inserting a renewed aversion to public transport; making permanent severe restrictions to the circulation and mobility of those most in need; restricting tourism and leisure activities, which in the last decade provided important sources of revenue for developing and developed countries alike; and increasing our dependency on online delivery and teleworking. Central to this possible future is the question of who and what is allowed to circulate within and across geopolitical regimes, in turn, a question inviting transdisciplinary discussions on issues around border controls, trade agreements, gender, social, environmental, and mobility justice, as well as the role that investment in large transportation systems plays in and through the circulation of goods, people, ideas that are either encouraged or blocked.

These circulations promote a frequent and constant use of sundry territories by certain groups – what Matthias Kärrholm calls territorial appropriation. This appropriation is infused by a distinct integration into wider spatial units, their re-territorialization and de-territorialization, as well as the convergence of centre(s) and periphery(ies). However peripheral, remote areas get integrated into larger markets through a process that is often accompanied by a centre’s administrative grasp, of whatever kind, which can be subsequently amplified. Peripheries, in turn, strive to overcome the perception of their demeaning status as being technologically backward. The modernisation of transport infrastructures has close links to socioeconomic development. Conversely, favouring modern transportation infrastructures often involves the risks of overlooking the real needs and rights of people and goods to move. The relationship between centres and peripheries is too one involving questions around colonial pasts, of colonies efficiently and unevenly included in imperial systems, later extricating themselves from the colony-metropole clutch.

The unevenness and inequality of mobilities due to globalization have increased. Contrasting the experiences of mobility in the global North/South, and from the perspectives of women, racialized groups, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with different degrees of physical and mental abilities – amongst others – require further critical reflection. Cross-border flows at a global scale are linked to the rise of nationalism trying to restrict undesirable movements and protect those originating from within national borders. Brexit, in the UK, is a reminder of the significance of understanding what people perceive to be limiting about global circulation and the extent to which these perceptions may or may not serve the interests of different governments.

The 19th T²M conference seeks to promote a debate around historical transitions, focusing on the interrelation of circulation, appropriation, and globalization. Questions and approaches studying the many agencies of transitions, the main actors, impacts, relationships with the state, the connections with notions like nationalisms, diplomacy, identity, race, finance, capital, labour, and more, are both encouraged and welcome.

We encourage young scholars and researchers, as well as PhD candidates to participate, debating these topics and/or expanding on the reflexivity and historiography of transport and mobility fields.

In light of the European Commission’s recognition of 2021 as the European Year of Railways, we are especially interested in papers that analyse past, present, and future transitions of mobility by rail. We also welcome interdisciplinary, transnational, artistic, design-led, empirical or theoretical approaches that combine methodologies from history, geography, economy, science and technology studies, international relations, digital humanities, sociology, anthropology, gender studies, as well as empirical studies from the global South and the global North.

Topics may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Traffic, transport, mobilities and power
  • Epidemics, transportation and mobilities
  • Transport, traffic and mobilities in the Anthropocene/Kinocene
  • Sociotechnical construction of transport and mobilities
  • Circulation, appropriation, and globalisation in travel literature
  • (Techno)Diplomacy, transport and mobilities
  • Relations between history of knowledge and transport/mobility
  • Ontologies for transport history
  • Urban, rural, digital mobilities
  • Intergenerational mobilities
  • Mobility justice
  • Pasts, presents and futures of tourism
  • Re-conceptualisation of the concept of vehicle (human body, photography, media as vehicles)
  • Transportation and state-building/empire-buildings
  • Globalisation vs. the nation-state/nationalistic political projects
  • Transportation grids as critical infrastructures
  • Transportation, mobility, circulation, and museums/archives/libraries

In addition, proposals may address any aspect of the history, and social, cultural, economic, technological, ecological, and political aspects of transport, traffic, and mobility.

Proposals can be for individual papers, panels, artworks, posters, and other creative formats as outlined below. We welcome relevant contributions from any academic perspective or discipline, contributions from professionals, policy makers and practitioners in the field of transport, traffic, and mobility, as well as artists and creative professionals, designers, and engineers.

The conference language is English. Panels in Portuguese/Spanish may also be accepted.

Submission formats

Papers: Individual submission of a paper consists of an abstract (300 words) and a brief biography (100 words) including contact information. Papers will be grouped thematically by the programme committee and may become part of a 7/7, debate, or, panel session.

Sessions: A full, pre-organized 7/7, debate, or, panel session. A session submission should include a title, summary of the session theme and the method chosen for facilitating discussion (300 words), as well as abstracts for each contribution/presentation (300 words). A short biography of each presenter is also required (100 words), with contact information. We welcome the following types of sessions:

7/7 sessions: This means seven slides and seven minutes for each presentation. The sessions will have plenty of time for discussion. This will be supported by having a chair who might also act as discussant. Presenters shall focus on their main argument in order to avoid overly-complex presentations.

Debate sessions: Debate sessions have a maximum of five presenters. Each gives a five minutes focused input to the topic and this should be followed by discussion involving the audience. Led by a chair.

Panel sessions: Panels consist of a chair and three to four paper presenters and one discussant (optional). Panels should include time for audience discussion. Each presenter has 20 minutes (15 min + 5 min for questions); papers are grouped thematically.

Posters: This is a great way to discuss early or exploratory work and present it as a Poster at the conference. Submission consists of an abstract (300 words) and a brief biography (100 words) including contact information. The full poster is due 30 September.

Submission Procedures

To submit your proposal please complete your form here.
Alternatively, send your proposal to

After acceptance all abstracts will be published on the conference website. You also have the opportunity to submit a Full paper (5000 words). We strongly encourage the submission of full papers, which will be shared with all conference delegates. Authors whose contributions are accepted will have until 30 September 2021 to submit their full paper. Papers may be published in a restricted area for conference participants on the conference website, and/or as part of the T2M archive. Consent from authors will be sought in all cases.