On/off track: transformative powers of vehicles and transport infrastructures

Patrick Laviolette (UCL)
Tatiana Argounova-Low (University of Aberdeen)
Everyday Life
Aula 28
Wednesday 17 April, 9:00-10:45
Wednesday 17 April, 11:15-13:00

Short abstract:

This panel explores both the transformative powers of trails, paths, roads, passageways, and the assemblages of humanoid-hybrids that travel along (or get stuck upon/within) these 'earthly structures from below'.

Long abstract:

"Chthonic ones are not safe; they have no truck with ideologues; they belong to no one; they writhe and luxuriate in manifold forms and manifold names in all the airs, waters, and places of earth" (Donna Haraway 2016: 2). We invite papers focussing on the infrastructural connections and transformations that passageways of all sorts (trails, shipping lanes, road networks, flight paths) have on the world inhabited by human and non-human animals. Presentations demonstrating the transformative power of travel connections are most welcome; as are those that question how such connections create innovative engagements, thus playing a part in producing new cultural, socio-political, economic and environmental impacts. We would particularly like to hear about the transformative potentialities of vehicles and the surrounding systems of auto-mobility that support our love/hate, or our ambivalence/indifference, for roads and cars. In addressing the amorphous nexus of ties that exist between vehicles and infrastructure, as well as the social lives, cultures and lived environments of hyper-mobility, or everyday micro-journeys, we hope the panel will provide some cross-cultural histories for how tracks change. Looking forward too, the panel shall equally try to gain a vantage point for a broad perspective on our long-term relationship with transport infrastructures, helping to assess their impact upon both the built environment and the planet's ecosystems. We approach such themes broadly, following various manifestations of the 'Chthulu' and the 'AnthrObscene', as antidotes to the human centredness of thinking along the more banal/simplistic lines of the 'anthropocene'.