Call for Papers

Still accepting proposals


Hubs are collective meeting points but they also evoke a specific socio-material nexus of flows throughout history : from Neanderthals to medieval markets, from spice routes to Indigenous gatherings, hubs have provided a common place for people to meet, exchange and continue their journey. Hubs control and direct the flows of people, goods, currencies and so much more. From Wright’s Broadacre Plan, Florida’s Creative cities to Sassen’s Global cities, hubs are an intricate part of our world’s structure.

Nevertheless, the conditions that gave rise to a mobility hub city, including its location and industry change over time. Technologies and markets change. New routes are established and old ones abandoned. Hub cities rise and fall with the ebb and flow of exchanges. But once the water stops running, the river bed is still present and may be repurposed. Schumpeter’s creative destruction may explain the often surprising renaissance of certain hubs.

Moreover, hubs are often called upon to navigate geopolitical fractures especially when they straddle them. Despite the border, the daily flow of people, goods, and commodities at the San Diego / Tijuana transnational hub permits the region to grow and be vibrant. Thus, when Presidents build walls and reify borders, it is hubs such as San Diego / Tijuana that must manage the impacts. Such instances become occasions for a range of resistive and subversive strategies that seek to (nominally) smoothen frictions and bridge fractures.

Between geography, engineering, logistics, mathematics, history, economics and so many other disciplines, the study of hubs have a lot to teach about growth and expansion as well as contraction, identity and anonymity, time and wait, seamlessness and connectivity. As mobility scholars, we wish to initiate and encourage the exchange of ideas between disciplines on both the tangible materiality and the ephemeral imaginaries of hubs.

We therefore call for papers on a range of historical and contemporary issues pertaining to mobility, space and the city, including themes such as:

  • Relationalities in hubs including hierarchy, centrality and polarization of people, goods and ideas;
  • Changing morphologies of hubs including networks, connections, disconnections, relations and junctions;
  • Meaning and experience in and through hubs: identity of place, non-place, culture of gathering etc.;
  • Deceleration and anchoring, speed, time and flow;
  • Indigenous peoples and minorities in and around hub cities;
  • Northern issues & climate change in the context of resource hubs;
  • Other innovative topics related to the history of transportation & Mobility studies.

Papers may address the conference theme, or other social, cultural, economic, technological, ecological and political perspectives on the history, present, and future of transport, traffic and mobility. This mobility history conference openly aims to bridge research approaches, welcoming proposals from different disciplines dealing with mobility studies (history, sociology, anthropology, geography, economy, planning studies, business history, architecture, design, communication, etc.) We particularly encourage the submission of interdisciplinary panels.

  • Abstracts and papers may be submitted in either English or French.
  • Abstract length is limited to 300 words.
  • Still accepting proposals.


Abstract submission

Panel Submission