Fifth Annual Conference
The Making and Unmaking of Spatial Orders: Mobilities under the Global Condition from the 19th Century to the Present
When

Wednesday, 7 October 2020 - Saturday, 10 October 2020

Register now!
Where

Online

Image Credit: foundin_a_attic at flickr.com

The fifth annual conference of the SFB 1199, which is in its second funding phase, focuses on mobilities as a space-making practice while concentrating on mobile actors as spatial entrepreneurs. These actors act and live under historically specific but variable conditions, which have an impact on their choice of mobility forms and on the effects these mobilities have on spatial orders and spatial formats. Mobile actors can challenge existing spatial orders and formats, possibly leading to the creation of new ones. They also seem to be particularly capable of bringing – or forced to bring – into relation and/or translate between different spatial formats because they are crossing borders of empires and nation-states, thereby dealing with varying jurisdictions, scales, languages, and cultural frameworks. Mobile actors, such as migrants, entrepreneurs, or cultural brokers, develop their own spatiality, which might conflict with those produced by people interested in stability and static conditions.

Conference Programme

Conference Poster

Hence, an understanding of the relation between mobility and respatialization requires considering not only actors and their motives, forms, tools, and resources for mobility, but also those (not necessarily immobile) actors aiming to control, contain, divert, or restrict mobility. Thus, we have to go beyond a dichotomy between the mobile and the immobile as well as reflect upon the fact that actors might have changing strategies over time. Rather, we aim at differentiating between types of mobilities and the reactions to such mobilities – this dialectic is a crucial part of processes of respatialization.

Due to the current exceptional circumstances, the conference will take place online, providing space for keynote lectures as well as panel discussions and open working formats. Its final programme will be published on a conference website, including the access to the online session, in due time. If you have further inquiries, please contact Dr. Ute Rietdorf or Rüdiger Lauberbach at sfb1199 [at] uni-leipzig [dot] de.

Programme

7 October 2020

Chair: Ulf Engel (U Leipzig)
Comment: Francis Harvey (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography)

 


Jana Moser (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography):
Visualizing Mobilities – Visualized Mobilities

 

To capture mobility as “movement in space” – as a dynamic, complex, and multidimensional phenomenon on maps, which are supposed to fix the spatial conditions above all else – seems to be a contradiction in terms. At least, such a task poses some challenges. Indeed, “movement” has traditionally been an object of cartographic theory, and so there are several proven ways of tackling this problem in spatial visualization. This applies not only to static maps using presentation methods such as band diagrams or arrows or the viewing of single images at different points in time, but also to dynamic and interactive applications, that is to say those where the signatures/symbols themselves make the movement visible through change.

Against the background of the very different research approaches in the SFB, it is important to always keep two things in mind:

  • Maps and visualizations have the task of reducing complexity and often open up the possibility of recognizing connections, dependencies, or even structures. A prerequisite for this is an ordering procedure that emphasizes and classifies certain elements or properties and omits others due to selection, limitation, and/or simplification.
  • We always regard mobilities as social processes that have an effect on the perception of space, both in themselves and through visualizations. Mobile spatial entrepreneurs, those actors who affect mobility but also those who visualize it, challenge fixed spatial formats and spatial orders that are considered constant rather than stabilizing or at least confirming them.

This paper uses various examples to show the range of visualization possibilities of mobilities. It will also discuss how certain procedures for reducing complexity on maps can influence the perception of content, which spatial formats become “visible” on maps, and how these formats and visualizations are (can be) challenged.


Till Nagel (Mannheim U of Applied Sciences):
Moving People. Non-Traditional Forms of Visualizing Mobility

 

In recent years, mobility is increasingly recorded digitally through various sensors and systems. In the resulting vast amounts of data lie countless stories of movement. Thus, there is the need to explore the spatio-temporality of these data sets. Common flow maps and other traditional visualization techniques help to reveal patterns and relationships inside various movement data but typically focus on analytical tasks. Through a series of alternate mobility representations we investigated new ways to support people making sense of complex phenomenon relevant to their own experience. In my talk I will present and discuss experimental visualizations aiming to encourage a reflective use of individual and aggregated movement data.

Chair: Uwe Müller (Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe)
Comment: Quinn Slobodian (Wellesley C)

 

Max Trecker (Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe):
Economists in Exile: Forced Mobility and the Neoliberal Respatialization of the World in the 1930s and 1940s

 

The emergence of neoliberalism was closely related with the Great Depression of 1929 and the growth of authoritarian regimes in Europe. Most neoliberals were criticizing the liberalism of the 19th century and planned economies alike. Between 1933 and 1945, many neoliberal economists had to leave their home countries or could not return (like Friedrich Hayek after 1938). Essentially, this forced mobility helped to create new intellectual networks and led to the formulation of new ideas to restructure societies on a national level as well as to reinvent a new international order. In a German context, this is clearly visible with Wilhelm Röpke and Alexander Rüstow, who developed an explicit division of labour in exile. While Rüstow was responsible for creating the intellectual foundations for a new liberalism, Röpke took up the task of putting these ideas into practice after the war had ended. In contrast, other economists, like Hayek, influenced their destinations of exile significantly while writing about and criticizing their societies of origin (see Road to Serfdom). In my contribution, I would also like to critically debate Quinn Slobodian’s “Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism”.

 

Steffi Marung (Leipzig U):
Intellectual and Spatial Mobilities of Black Radical Intellectuals: Imagining a Post-colonial World Order after the Russian Revolution

 

It was not just the formation of the Soviet Union as the first socialist state or later the globalizing ambitions of the Soviet Union during the context of the Cold War that transformed socialism into a global project. Already during the high point of communist internationalism in the 1920s and, even more so, the intellectual and political trajectories of actors outside the Soviet realm made socialism a powerful claim-making device in struggles against racism and colonialism. The Russian Revolution, the fight against fascism in the 1930s and 1940s, and the high hopes connected to socialist modernities in the context of decolonization provoked activists across the Atlantic to formulate their own interpretations and agendas on the transformation of the capitalist world order after empire – which were often at odds with Soviet orthodoxies, although still related to them in complicated ways. Socialism became a highly mobile concept and was pluralized through the mobilities of actors engaging it, thus often challenging socialism’s Eurocentric bias and European origins.

This paper focuses on how the intellectual and physical mobilities of Walter Rodney, C. L. R. James, and Kwame Nkrumah impacted their conceptualization of a post-colonial order through the looking glass of the Russian Revolution and Soviet socialism. It situates these actors in a fragmented and rebellious transatlantic space and sheds light on conversations about communism and socialism as a way to respatialize the world, which were based on professional and intellectual mobilities that often countered Soviet visions of world order, and, at the same time, resulted in a long-lasting legacy of leftist thinking after the end of the Cold War.

 

Johanna Bockman (George Mason U):
Aesthetics and Spatial-Claims Moving across Time and Space: Multiple Globalizations in Washington, DC

 

In this paper, I explore multiple globalizations moving through one city block in Washington, DC. This block has a public housing project surrounded by homeowners and a long gentrified space. Each globalization has its own networks, institutions, primary actors, specific histories and futures, and aesthetics, which are formed in battle with other globalizations. In this specific case study, the two globalizations in battle on the block are those of neoliberalism and Pan-Africanism. In these battles, actors bring aesthetics from the early 20th century to make spatial claims during the late 1980s wave of gentrification. Homeowners working within a neoliberal, gentrifying globalization paint murals of the artwork of Piet Mondrian, mobilizing a settler colonial, white supremacist globality from 1920s Imperial Paris to displace African American public housing residents. These public housing residents had already painted a Pan-African mural on one of their buildings, expressing long-standing spatial connections to W. E. B. DuBois and his Pan-African work at the same time in 1920s Imperial Paris. I conclude with thoughts about globalizations, the global condition, and aesthetics.

8 October

Chair: Steffi Marung (Leipzig U)

 

Ursula Rao (MPI Halle), Elisabeth Kaske, Stefan Rohdewald & Dmitri van den Bersselaar (Leipzig U)

 

The core idea of this roundtable is to differentiate and compare different meanings and realizations of transregionality through the lens of studying mobility – of knowledge and ideas, goods, actors, as well as infrastructures and institutions regulating and enabling these mobilities. Bringing together scholars specializing in the study of Asia, Africa, and Europe in different transregional perspectives, we will be able to discuss different transregional spatialities that result from or are challenged by such mobilities and vice versa.

Chair: Matthias Middell (Leipzig U)
Comment: Frank Schumacher (U of Western Ontario)

 

Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez (Leipzig U):
“More of the Pioneer Spirit”: Black Mobilities in the Age of US Imperialism

 

US expansionism at the end of the 19th century presented African Americans with a dilemma: should they support their nation in its endeavour to control territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean by participating in these imperialist ventures, or should they resist them as projects directed against non-whites in other parts of the globe? This paper explores some of the debates and reasonings concerning this question, focusing in particular on the spatial imaginaries concerning the new “possessions” and envisioned black mobilities to these spaces. As African American intellectuals and writers tried to assess what the emergence of the imperial archipelago might mean in terms of black people’s prospects and opportunities, some developed imaginary geographies that framed Cuba, Hawaii, and the Philippines as possible destinations, as spaces promising liberation from the oppressive realities of US racism. This paper addresses these space-making practices in the context of the difficult situation of African Americans in the Jim Crow era, using pamphlets, newspaper articles, and literary texts as primary material.

 

Steffen Wöll (Leipzig U):
The Space Between Oceans: Mobilizing America’s Transhemispheric Empire

 

What David Armitage termed the “Atlantic world” was, from an American perspective, imagined through a multitude of narrative lenses that embraced a variety of different spatial formats and orders: first, as a colonial frontier of Western civilization that succeeded the Mediterranean as the cradle of European civilization and philosophy; second, as a maritime network that mobilized the exchange of peoples (including explorers, migrants, and slaves), goods, and novel ideas; and third, as a realm of colonial oppression, revolution, and political self-determination. The imperial age eventually adjoined the Atlantic to the Pacific, shifting gears towards envisioning America’s bordering oceans as a transhemispheric sphere of national interests that entailed racial and religious ‘burdens’ of intervention. Utilizing contemporary sources ranging from novels to diaries, the present paper examines literary, cultural, and other space-making vectors that mobilized or resisted the imperial linkage between Atlantic and Pacific, complicating existing and shedding light on understudied transoceanic imaginations and their impact on spatialization processes past and present.

Megan Maruschke (Leipzig U):
Mobility at the Border, Mobility of the Border: American Boundary Commissions in the Long 19th Century

 

From the very first treaty with Britain following the war of independence, the Treaty of Paris (1783), the US and the British Empire agreed to a boundary between the British dominions in Canada and the United States. Numerous treaties followed those extended agreements, and boundary commissions informed the processes of bringing together three elements over the course of the 19th century: the words on paper with “accurate” maps that would correspond to boundary markers on the ground. The end of the Mexican-American war (1848) gave rise to further commissions between the US and Mexico. Rather than resolving the boundary once and for all as the delimitation of state sovereignty, a fresh and comprehensive look at boundary commission reports indicate the extent to which maintaining mobility along and beyond the boundary played a major role in 19th-century boundary production. The boundary itself could also be mobile. I find that boundary production was useful in connecting a number of spatial formats and in managing spatial orders, far beyond our understanding of boundaries as delimiting the nation-state spatial format. This paper brings together preliminary insights from these boundary negotiations to show how a history of American boundaries challenges conceptual assumptions and historical associations of borders as tools to manage mobility.

9 October 2020

Chair: Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez (Leipzig U)
Comment: Holger Weiß (Åbo Akademi U)

 

Marcus Rediker (U Pittsburgh):
Violence, Mobility, and Resistance in the Red Atlantic: Introductory Remarks

 

Ana Moledo (Leipzig U):
Transregional Mobilities and National Liberation: Anatomy of a Partnership

 

Research on the global history of anti-colonialism and decolonization has shown the extent to which imperial and, more broadly, transregional mobilities have shaped the trajectories of individuals and movements involved in the transition from empire to nation. Anti-colonial and liberation movements in the second half of the 20th century emerged and consolidated while their members were on the move between imperial/Western European metropoles, socialist Eastern Europe, or newly independent African countries, gaining access to various mobility paths (educational, military training, activism) that shaped their agendas of national liberation. The identification of some of these movements as Marxist-Leninist or socialist revolutionary parties does not stem (exclusively) from their alliance with the socialist bloc but from their commitments to build new non-racial societies orienting the application of socialist values to local realities. My contribution looks into the making of some revolutionary figures from Lusophone African liberation movements and the impacts that politically driven mobilities had in their imaginations of post-colonial national building and the location of new independent countries in the world order.

 

Claudia Martínez Hernàndez (U Vienna):
Researching Socialist Mobilities: Framing of the Cuban Personnel Circulation

 

Mobility within the self-called “World Socialist System”, is unknown in all its magnitude and has many post-socialist approaches to overcome. Cuba, underdeveloped and the only Latin American member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, actively participated in the transcontinental movement of people during the last decades of the system competition. This case of personnel circulation has not been studied so far under the idea to achieve economic, societal, and political convergence by enhancing “socialist development”. Considering the interactions between involved institutional and individual actors is also a pending task to analyse these temporary migratory flows in relation to Cuban interests of international influence. How and why did individual actors participate in this personnel exchange? What were the involved structures by the Cuban side? How did they stress and evolve to frame people on the move? Which experiences resulted from these encounters? This contribution is part of a current research, under the FWF/Austrian Science Fund–sponsored research project “Entanglements between Cuba and the GDR: mobilities, exchanges, circulations within the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance”, directed by Univ. Doz. Dr. Berthold Unfried at the Institute of Economic and Social History of the University of Vienna. The results achieved so far are based on Cuban archives as well as narrative interviews with individual actors.

10 October 2020

Chair: Dmitri van den Bersselaar
Comment: Dirk van Laak (Leipzig U)

Geert Castryck (Leipzig U):
Spheres of Life and Scales of Action among Gujarati and Omani Merchants in Central Africa, 1920s–1930s

 

Based on bankruptcy and inheritance files from Ruanda-Urundi in the years before and after the Great Depression, this paper reconstructs the different spheres of operation of Indian and Arab merchants, who were operating in the African Great Lakes Region. For crucial moments in life (setting up a business, marriage, birth giving and education, old age and funerals) the sphere of reference was family ties on the scale of the Indian Ocean world. For long-distance trade connections, Omani and Gujarati merchants each had their preferential trade routes, going either via Lake Tanganyika and Dar es Salaam or via Lake Victoria and Mombasa. For regional trade activities, Omani and Gujarati merchant communities each had their own networks, connected via long-time residents, primarily in Kigoma or Bujumbura. However, on the local urban level, they rallied forces in order to lobby with colonial authorities, and contrary to what has been said after independence, they were committed to settle and spend their lives in the area, bringing over family members and staying in the area over several generations. Thus, mobility and permanent settlement went hand in hand, producing locality and maintaining long-distance connections at the same time.

 

Rene Umlauf & Marian Burchardt (Leipzig U):
Infrastructuring Spatial Formats: Drones and Mobility in Africa

 

New infrastructures of mobility rely on and reinforce existing spatial formats, but they may also challenge and weaken them. In this paper, we explore drone projects that are currently set up in several African countries and analyse the ways in which they enable some sorts of mobility while undercutting others. Our focus is on the use of drones in healthcare sector logistics where drones facilitate the transport of blood samples or light pharmaceuticals. We show how drones technologies and the institutional set-up in which they are embedded operate along global commodity chains and are part of global networks of the digital economy. Importantly, while typically being commissioned and sponsored by national government they also reinforce tendencies towards new infrastructural regimes in which national territories are reimagined around questions and notions of remoteness. In this context, drones mobilize, or set in motion, not people and their bodies in area construed as remote but instead bodily substances, pharmaceuticals that sustain the lives of these bodies and data. Our main interest is in the mutually constitutive dynamics of mobilization and demobilization.

Abstracts & Biographical Notes

Panel “The Challenges of Mapping Mobilities”

10:00 am – 11:30 am CEST

 

Chair: Ulf Engel (U Leipzig)

Comment: Francis Harvey (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography)

Jana Moser (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography): Visualizing Mobilities – Visualized Mobilities

To capture mobility as “movement in space” – as a dynamic, complex, and multidimensional phenomenon on maps, which are supposed to fix the spatial conditions above all else – seems to be a contradiction in terms. At least, such a task poses some challenges. Indeed, “movement” has traditionally been an object of cartographic theory, and so there are several proven ways of tackling this problem in spatial visualization. This applies not only to static maps using presentation methods such as band diagrams or arrows or the viewing of single images at different points in time, but also to dynamic and interactive applications, that is to say those where the signatures/symbols themselves make the movement visible through change.

Against the background of the very different research approaches in the SFB, it is important to always keep two things in mind:

  • Maps and visualizations have the task of reducing complexity and often open up the possibility of recognizing connections, dependencies, or even structures. A prerequisite for this is an ordering procedure that emphasizes and classifies certain elements or properties and omits others due to selection, limitation, and/or simplification.
  • We always regard mobilities as social processes that have an effect on the perception of space, both in themselves and through visualizations. Mobile spatial entrepreneurs, those actors who affect mobility but also those who visualize it, challenge fixed spatial formats and spatial orders that are considered constant rather than stabilizing or at least confirming them.

This paper uses various examples to show the range of visualization possibilities of mobilities. It will also discuss how certain procedures for reducing complexity on maps can influence the perception of content, which spatial formats become “visible” on maps, and how these formats and visualizations are (can be) challenged.

 

Till Nagel (Mannheim U of Applied Sciences): Moving People. Non-Traditional Forms of Visualizing Mobility

In recent years, mobility is increasingly recorded digitally through various sensors and systems. In the resulting vast amounts of data lie countless stories of movement. Thus, there is the need to explore the spatio-temporality of these data sets. Common flow maps and other traditional visualization techniques help to reveal patterns and relationships inside various movement data but typically focus on analytical tasks. Through a series of alternate mobility representations we investigated new ways to support people making sense of complex phenomenon relevant to their own experience. In my talk I will present and discuss experimental visualizations aiming to encourage a reflective use of individual and aggregated movement data.

 

Participants:

Ulf Engel (U Leipzig)

Ulf Engel is professor of “Politics in Africa” at the Institute of African Studies at Leipzig University (Germany). He is also a visiting professor at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies at Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) and a professor extraordinary in the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch University (South Africa). Since 2006 he is advising the African Union’s Peace and Security Department on issues of early warning, conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy.

 

Francis Harvey (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography)

Francis Harvey is Professor for Visual Communication in Geography at the University of Leipzig, Germany and leads the research group on data practices at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL), also in Leipzig. Previously he has worked as an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society at the University of Minnesota, USA, at the University of Kentucky, USA, University of Leicester, UK, and École Polytechnique Fèderal de Lausanne, Switzerland. He also has held visiting faculty positions in Poland and Germany. His research addresses a range of central issues for Geographic Information Science and cognate fields including visualization, semantics, interoperability, overlay algorithms, and institutional coordination. His book “A Primer of GIS” (Guilford Press, 2nd Edition 2016) covers the use of evolving geographic information technologies (GIS) and is widely used for undergraduate and graduate level courses in the USA and internationally. He is currently working on two large projects related to analysis of migration data and comparisons of gazetteer data.

 

Jana Moser (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography)

Jana Moser studied cartography and gained a doctorate at Dresden University. As head of the Cartography and Visual Communication department of Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography her research focuses on critical reflection of mapping practices today and in the past, on empirical studies on the use of cartographic media in the context of participation processes, on visualization methods and the history of cartography and map making.

 

Till Nagel (Mannheim U of Applied Sciences)

Till Nagel is a Carl Zeiss Foundation Endowed Professor of Visual Analytics at the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences. His research interests are in the fields of information visualization, interaction design and data literacy. He heads the Human Data Interaction Lab, which investigates new ways of supporting different target groups with interactive data representations. In recent years, one major focus of his research were urban data and mobility visualizations, and in the democratization of visualization tools. He is the project lead of Unfolding Maps, a widely used software library for geovisualizations and interactive maps. He was the general chair of the IEEE VIS Arts Program 2018 and 2019. Till has a background in media and computer science, and received his PhD at the Human Computer Interaction group at KU Leuven. He was a visiting scholar at the MIT Senseable City Lab in Boston and Singapore, and a postdoctoral fellow at the FHP Urban Complexity Lab. Since more than a decade he is a lecturer on data visualization and user interfaces, and taught courses at Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, IUAV Venice, and other universities. Before his current position in Mannheim, he was a guest professor at Burg Giebichenstein University of Arts and Design Halle. His work has been exhibited at Venice Biennale of Architecture, Shanghai Design Exhibition, DMY Berlin, and featured in The Guardian, Esquire, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and many more.

 

 

Panel “Ambitious Visions of World Order: Neoliberalism and Socialism as Mobile Concepts”

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm CEST

 

Chair: Uwe Müller (Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe)

Comment: Quinn Slobodian (Wellesley C)

 

Max Trecker (Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe): Economists in Exile: Forced Mobility and the Neoliberal Respatialization of the World in the 1930s and 1940s

The emergence of neoliberalism was closely related with the Great Depression of 1929 and the growth of authoritarian regimes in Europe. Most neoliberals were criticizing the liberalism of the 19th century and planned economies alike. Between 1933 and 1945, many neoliberal economists had to leave their home countries or could not return (like Friedrich Hayek after 1938). Essentially, this forced mobility helped to create new intellectual networks and led to the formulation of new ideas to restructure societies on a national level as well as to reinvent a new international order. In a German context, this is clearly visible with Wilhelm Röpke and Alexander Rüstow, who developed an explicit division of labour in exile. While Rüstow was responsible for creating the intellectual foundations for a new liberalism, Röpke took up the task of putting these ideas into practice after the war had ended. In contrast, other economists, like Hayek, influenced their destinations of exile significantly while writing about and criticizing their societies of origin (see Road to Serfdom). In my contribution, I would also like to critically debate Quinn Slobodian’s “Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism”.

 

Steffi Marung (Leipzig U): Intellectual and Spatial Mobilities of Black Radical Intellectuals: Imagining a Post-colonial World Order after the Russian Revolution

It was not just the formation of the Soviet Union as the first socialist state or later the globalizing ambitions of the Soviet Union during the context of the Cold War that transformed socialism into a global project. Already during the high point of communist internationalism in the 1920s and, even more so, the intellectual and political trajectories of actors outside the Soviet realm made socialism a powerful claim-making device in struggles against racism and colonialism. The Russian Revolution, the fight against fascism in the 1930s and 1940s, and the high hopes connected to socialist modernities in the context of decolonization provoked activists across the Atlantic to formulate their own interpretations and agendas on the transformation of the capitalist world order after empire – which were often at odds with Soviet orthodoxies, although still related to them in complicated ways. Socialism became a highly mobile concept and was pluralized through the mobilities of actors engaging it, thus often challenging socialism’s Eurocentric bias and European origins.

This paper focuses on how the intellectual and physical mobilities of Walter Rodney, C. L. R. James, and Kwame Nkrumah impacted their conceptualization of a post-colonial order through the looking glass of the Russian Revolution and Soviet socialism. It situates these actors in a fragmented and rebellious transatlantic space and sheds light on conversations about communism and socialism as a way to respatialize the world, which were based on professional and intellectual mobilities that often countered Soviet visions of world order, and, at the same time, resulted in a long-lasting legacy of leftist thinking after the end of the Cold War.

 

Johanna Bockman (George Mason U): Aesthetics and Spatial-Claims Moving across Time and Space: Multiple Globalizations in Washington, DC

In this paper, I explore multiple globalizations moving through one city block in Washington, DC. This block has a public housing project surrounded by homeowners and a long gentrified space. Each globalization has its own networks, institutions, primary actors, specific histories and futures, and aesthetics, which are formed in battle with other globalizations. In this specific case study, the two globalizations in battle on the block are those of neoliberalism and Pan-Africanism. In these battles, actors bring aesthetics from the early 20th century to make spatial claims during the late 1980s wave of gentrification. Homeowners working within a neoliberal, gentrifying globalization paint murals of the artwork of Piet Mondrian, mobilizing a settler colonial, white supremacist globality from 1920s Imperial Paris to displace African American public housing residents. These public housing residents had already painted a Pan-African mural on one of their buildings, expressing long-standing spatial connections to W. E. B. DuBois and his Pan-African work at the same time in 1920s Imperial Paris. I conclude with thoughts about globalizations, the global condition, and aesthetics.

 

Participants:

Uwe Müller (Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe)

 

Quinn Slobodian (Wellesley C)

Quinn Slobodian is a historian of modern international history who writes for The Guardian, New York Times, The Nation, New Statesman, and Foreign Policy. He is Associate Professor of History at Wellesley College and a recent Weatherhead Initiative on Global History Fellow at Harvard University.

 

Max Trecker (Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe)

Max Trecker studied history and economics at LMU Munich and CEU Budapest. He submitted his doctoral thesis on East-South economic cooperation in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) in 2017. Before joining the SFB 1199, he had worked in a research group on the privatization of the East German economy at the Institute for Contemporary History Munich-Berlin.

 

Steffi Marung (Leipzig U)

 

Johanna Bockman (George Mason U)

Johanna Bockman is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Global Affairs at George Mason University, specializing in globalization studies, economic sociology, urban studies, and East European Studies. Her first book was “Markets in the Name of Socialism: The Left-Wing Origins of Neoliberalism” (Stanford University Press, 2011). More recently, she published two pieces: “Democratic Socialism in Chile and Peru: Revisiting the “Chicago Boys” as the Origin of Neoliberalism” (Comparative Studies in Society and History 61(3), (2019):654–679) and “The Struggle over Structural Adjustment: Socialist Revolution versus Capitalist Counterrevolution in Yugoslavia and the World” (History of Political Economy 51 (annual supplement, 2019): 253-276). Currently, she is writing a book on multiple globalizations, socialisms, aesthetics, and displacement in Washington, DC.

 

 

 

 

8 October 2020

 

Roundtable “Transregional Perspectives on Mobility”

10:00 am – 11:30 am CEST

 

Chair: Steffi Marung (Leipzig U)

 

Ursula Rao (MPI Halle), Elisabeth Kaske, Stefan Rohdewald & Dmitri van den Bersselaar (Leipzig U)

 

The core idea of this roundtable is to differentiate and compare different meanings and realizations of transregionality through the lens of studying mobility – of knowledge and ideas, goods, actors, as well as infrastructures and institutions regulating and enabling these mobilities. Bringing together scholars specializing in the study of Asia, Africa, and Europe in different transregional perspectives, we will be able to discuss different transregional spatialities that result from or are challenged by such mobilities and vice versa.

 

Participants:

Steffi Marung (U Leipzig)

 

Ursula Rao (MPI Halle)

Ursula Rao is Director of the Department “Anthropology of Politics and Governance” at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle. Her current research focuses on e-governance and the social consequences of biometric technology in India. She has also written on urban space, Hindi- and English journalism and ritual theory. She is co-editor (together with Mark Maguire and Nils Zurawski) of “Bodies as Evidence. Power, Knowledge, Security” (Duke University Press, 2018). Other important publications are “Tolerated Encroachment. Resettlement Policies and the Negotiation of the licit/illicit Divide in an Indian Metropolis“(Cultural Anthropology 28: 760–779), “Biometric Bodies, or How to Make Fingerprinting Work in India” (Body and Society, published online 19.06.2018, available at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1357034X18780983.

 

Elisabeth Kaske (U Leipzig)

After studying and teaching in Berlin, Beijing, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Boston, Vienna, Pittsburgh, Taipei, and Princeton, Elisabeth Kaske joined Leipzig University in April 2017. As a historian of late Qing and early Republican China she is interested in China’s rugged path towards modernization. Her studies include the history of German-Chinese military exchange and technology transfer, the emergence of new concepts of language and education, the sale of rank and public office by the late imperial state, and the fiscal regime of the Qing dynasty. As part of the SFB, she studies the emergence of new professional elites, particularly engineers, and their impact on the spatialization of the Chinese nation.

 

Stefan Rohdewald (U Leipzig)

Stefan Rohdewald is Professor (Chair for Eastern and Southeastern European History) in Leipzig since 2020.  He studied in Zurich, where he also worked as a research assistant and where he defended his PhD in 2004. He was assistant and lecturer in Passau 2003–2012 and from 2013–2020 Professor for Southeastern European History at Giessen. He focuses on shared history of Eastern Europe and the Near East, urban history, remembrance, transconfessionality. He chairs the priority program Transottomanica: Eastern European-Ottoman-Persian Mobility Dynamics (DFG) 2017–2023. Selected (co-edited) volumes: “On the Venice of Polotsk”: Collective Action of Social Groups in a City between Eastern and Central Europe (2005: Open Access), Gods of the Nations: Religious Figures of Remembrance in Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia. (2014); Lithuania and Ruthenia. Studies of a Transcultural Communication Zone (2007: Open Access); The Ottoman Europe (2014); Transottomanica – Eastern European-Ottoman-Persian Mobility Dynamics (2019: Open Access).

 

Dmitri van den Bersselaar (U Leipzig)

Dmitri van den Bersselaar is a social and cultural historian with an interest in economic history. He specialises in West Africa, specifically Ghana and Nigeria during the 19th and 20th centuries. Current interests include: the impact of multinational business on local African cultures of work and labour; employability in African knowledge economies; and the history of knowledge production in and about Africa. He previously worked on: African responses to – and involvement in – colonialism, missionary enterprise, trading and business; the impact of colonial interaction on identity, community, and personhood; changing perceptions of status, culture, ethnicity and identity in colonial and postcolonial West Africa; and the ways in which people appropriate ideas and commodities from outside and make them meaningful as emblems of local communities and identities.

 

 

Panel “The Making of the American Empire: Mobilities, Mobilization, and Borders”

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm CEST

 

Chair: Matthias Middell (Leipzig U)

Comment: Frank Schumacher (U of Western Ontario)

 

Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez (Leipzig U): “More of the Pioneer Spirit”: Black Mobilities in the Age of US Imperialism

US expansionism at the end of the 19th century presented African Americans with a dilemma: should they support their nation in its endeavour to control territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean by participating in these imperialist ventures, or should they resist them as projects directed against non-whites in other parts of the globe? This paper explores some of the debates and reasonings concerning this question, focusing in particular on the spatial imaginaries concerning the new “possessions” and envisioned black mobilities to these spaces. As African American intellectuals and writers tried to assess what the emergence of the imperial archipelago might mean in terms of black people’s prospects and opportunities, some developed imaginary geographies that framed Cuba, Hawaii, and the Philippines as possible destinations, as spaces promising liberation from the oppressive realities of US racism. This paper addresses these space-making practices in the context of the difficult situation of African Americans in the Jim Crow era, using pamphlets, newspaper articles, and literary texts as primary material.

 

Steffen Wöll (Leipzig U): The Space Between Oceans: Mobilizing America’s Transhemispheric Empire

What David Armitage termed the “Atlantic world” was, from an American perspective, imagined through a multitude of narrative lenses that embraced a variety of different spatial formats and orders: first, as a colonial frontier of Western civilization that succeeded the Mediterranean as the cradle of European civilization and philosophy; second, as a maritime network that mobilized the exchange of peoples (including explorers, migrants, and slaves), goods, and novel ideas; and third, as a realm of colonial oppression, revolution, and political self-determination. The imperial age eventually adjoined the Atlantic to the Pacific, shifting gears towards envisioning America’s bordering oceans as a transhemispheric sphere of national interests that entailed racial and religious ‘burdens’ of intervention. Utilizing contemporary sources ranging from novels to diaries, the present paper examines literary, cultural, and other space-making vectors that mobilized or resisted the imperial linkage between Atlantic and Pacific, complicating existing and shedding light on understudied transoceanic imaginations and their impact on spatialization processes past and present.

 

Megan Maruschke (Leipzig U): Mobility at the Border, Mobility of the Border: American Boundary Commissions in the Long 19th Century

From the very first treaty with Britain following the war of independence, the Treaty of Paris (1783), the US and the British Empire agreed to a boundary between the British dominions in Canada and the United States. Numerous treaties followed those extended agreements, and boundary commissions informed the processes of bringing together three elements over the course of the 19th century: the words on paper with “accurate” maps that would correspond to boundary markers on the ground. The end of the Mexican-American war (1848) gave rise to further commissions between the US and Mexico. Rather than resolving the boundary once and for all as the delimitation of state sovereignty, a fresh and comprehensive look at boundary commission reports indicate the extent to which maintaining mobility along and beyond the boundary played a major role in 19th-century boundary production. The boundary itself could also be mobile. I find that boundary production was useful in connecting a number of spatial formats and in managing spatial orders, far beyond our understanding of boundaries as delimiting the nation-state spatial format. This paper brings together preliminary insights from these boundary negotiations to show how a history of American boundaries challenges conceptual assumptions and historical associations of borders as tools to manage mobility.

 

Participants:

Matthias Middell (U Leipzig)

Matthias Middell is professor of cultural history and Director of the Global and European Studies Institute as well as spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Centre 1199 and the Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics. Since 1991 he serves as editor of Comparativ. Journal of Global History and since 2015 he sits on the board of the International Committee of Historical Sciences.

 

Frank Schumacher (U of Western Ontario)

Frank Schumacher teaches international and global history at the University of Western Ontario/Canada. Professor Schumacher has published widely on the role of the United States in world affairs, the history of empires and colonialism, and the global history of genocide and mass violence, most recently: “Reclaiming Territory: The Spatial Contours of Empire in U.S. History”, in: Matthias Middell, Steffi Marung eds., Spatial Formats under the Global Condition (Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter, 2019): 107-148. He is currently at working on two books: “Embedded Empire: Global Histories of the United States” and “Theodore Roosevelt: Cosmopolitan Nationalist”. He is also in the early stages of a new research project tentatively entitled “The Paradox of Proximity: The Global as Utopia and Dystopia”.

 

Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez (U Leipzig)

Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez’ way into American Studies started with a translator’s degree in English and Spanish before she got interested in literary translation studies and literary studies. Since her graduation, she has worked at the universities of Göttingen, Bielefeld, Bayreuth, Groningen (Netherlands), and Leipzig. In 2009 she was a guest professor at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. She also spent a year at the University of California, Berkeley as a Visiting Scholar and 6 months at the State University of New York, Binghamton as a Fulbright grantee. She teaches American literature and culture from the 17th through the 20th century with a wide range of topics on both introductory and specialist levels. As the first professor of Minority Studies appointed in Germany, her special focus in Leipzig is on the role of race and ethnicity in the U.S. as well as on migration and inter-American studies. She is particularly interested in Latino/a cultures, border studies, ethnic popular cultures, and changing concepts of ethnicity. Her research focuses on the cultural processes which link American culture to other cultures or which are situated in between cultures. Her doctoral dissertation investigated literary translations of Stephen Crane texts as cultural products at the intersection of literary studies, cultural studies and translation studies. For her Habilitation project, she researched the border zone between the United States and Mexico as a culturally productive space which plays an important role in redefining concepts of nation and national culture. My current research interests are in the fields of 19th century inter-American relations, transnational studies and critical regionalism, Latino/a studies, migration studies, and 21st century concepts of race and ethnicity.

 

Steffen Wöll (U Leipzig)

Steffen Wöll is a postdoctoral fellow in American Studies working at SFB 1199. He has published articles on various topics, including spatial imaginations, border studies, naturalism, postmodernism, as well as film and horror studies. Wöll is the author of The West and the World: Imagining, Formatting, and Ordering the American West in Nineteenth-Century Cultural Discourse (2020). His current research focuses on transoceanic connections in the United States’ imperial imaginary.

 

Megan Maruschke (U Leipzig)

Megan Maruschke’s current research deals with the history of American boundaries in the long 19th century as part of multiple projects of respatialization, which goes beyond undertsanding the national boundary as a container of state sovereignty. This research is a contribution to the SFB 1199 sub-project, B01 “The Respatialization of the World during the Formation of the Global Condition, 1820–1914: The Americas and the French Empire.” In 2016, I finished my PhD at Leipzig within the Research Training Group (GK 1261): “Critical Junctures of Globalization”. I wrote my dissertation on the history of free port and free trade zone practices since the mid-nineteenth century in Mumbai, India. This research focused on zones as tools used to foster state rescaling and reterritorialization projects. Before coming to Leipzig, I studied Global Studies and Italian Studies at UC Santa Barbara, USA; international relations at the University of Padua, Italy; and Global Studies at the University of Wrocław, Poland.

 

9 October 2020

 

Panel “Decolonization and Post-colonial State Building: Radical and Subversive Mobilities across the Atlantic”

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm CEST

 

Chair: Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez (Leipzig U)

Comment: Holger Weiß (Åbo Akademi U)

 

Marcus Rediker (U Pittsburgh): Violence, Mobility, and Resistance in the Red Atlantic: Introductory Remarks

 

 

Ana Moledo (Leipzig U): Transregional Mobilities and National Liberation: Anatomy of a Partnership

Research on the global history of anti-colonialism and decolonization has shown the extent to which imperial and, more broadly, transregional mobilities have shaped the trajectories of individuals and movements involved in the transition from empire to nation. Anti-colonial and liberation movements in the second half of the 20th century emerged and consolidated while their members were on the move between imperial/Western European metropoles, socialist Eastern Europe, or newly independent African countries, gaining access to various mobility paths (educational, military training, activism) that shaped their agendas of national liberation. The identification of some of these movements as Marxist-Leninist or socialist revolutionary parties does not stem (exclusively) from their alliance with the socialist bloc but from their commitments to build new non-racial societies orienting the application of socialist values to local realities. My contribution looks into the making of some revolutionary figures from Lusophone African liberation movements and the impacts that politically driven mobilities had in their imaginations of post-colonial national building and the location of new independent countries in the world order.

 

Claudia Martínez Hernàndez (U Vienna): Researching Socialist Mobilities: Framing of the Cuban Personnel Circulation

Mobility within the self-called “World Socialist System”, is unknown in all its magnitude and has many post-socialist approaches to overcome. Cuba, underdeveloped and the only Latin American member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, actively participated in the transcontinental movement of people during the last decades of the system competition. This case of personnel circulation has not been studied so far under the idea to achieve economic, societal, and political convergence by enhancing “socialist development”. Considering the interactions between involved institutional and individual actors is also a pending task to analyse these temporary migratory flows in relation to Cuban interests of international influence. How and why did individual actors participate in this personnel exchange? What were the involved structures by the Cuban side? How did they stress and evolve to frame people on the move? Which experiences resulted from these encounters? This contribution is part of a current research, under the FWF/Austrian Science Fund–sponsored research project “Entanglements between Cuba and the GDR: mobilities, exchanges, circulations within the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance”, directed by Univ. Doz. Dr. Berthold Unfried at the Institute of Economic and Social History of the University of Vienna. The results achieved so far are based on Cuban archives as well as narrative interviews with individual actors.

 

Participants:

Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez (U Leipzig)

see above

 

Holger Weiß (Åbo Akademi U)

Holger Weiß (PhD 1997, University of Helsinki) is professor of general history at Åbo Akademi University, Finland. His research focuses on Global and Atlantic history, West African environmental history, and Islamic Studies (with a special focus on Islam in Ghana). His latest publications are “För kampen internationellt! Transportarbetarnas globala kampinternational och dess verksamhet i Nordeuropa under 1930-talet” (Helsingfors: Sällskapet för arbetarrörelsens historia och arbetarkultur, 2019), “The Internationalisation of the Labour Question: Ideological Antagonism, Workers’ Movements and the ILO since 1919”, ed. Stefano Bellucci and Holger Weiss (London and New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2020), “Locating the Global: Spaces, Networks and Interactions from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century”, ed. Holger Weiss (Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2020), and “Muslim Faith-Based Organizations and the Provision of Social Welfare in Contemporary Africa”, ed. Holger Weiss (New York: Palgrave MacMillan 2020).

 

Marcus Rediker (U Pittsburgh)

Marcus Rediker is Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh. His ten books have won numerous awards and been translated into sixteen languages.  His most recent work is The Fearless Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf who Became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist (Beacon, Press, 2017), the subject of which he is also treating in a play, a graphic novel, and a children’s book.

 

Ana Moledo (Leipzig U)

Ana Moledo is a PhD student in the project A07 ‘“Free Radicals”? Political Mobilities and Postcolonial Re-Spatialization Processes in the second Half of the 20th Century’ within the SFB 1199 at Leipzig University. Her research interests lie in the field of global and transnational history, particularly with regard to colonialism and decolonization, transnational activism and radical politics and the Cold War in Southern Africa. She earned a joint MA degree in global studies at the University of Wroclaw (Poland) and Leipzig University and was a recipient of the Pre-Doc Award of Leipzig University in 2017.

 

Claudia Martínez Hernàndez (U Vienna)

Claudia Martínez Hernández, research collaborator at the Institute of Economic and Social History of the University of Vienna. Research focus on the history of development policies and the “Socialist World System”. Currently working on a PhD entitled “Organization, implementation and interactions of a socialist system of temporary migration. The framing of the Cuban personnel circulation within the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance by the organizations of the Communist Party of Cuba”. Publications on Cuban foreign policy and on “Cuban Internationalism”.

 

10 October 2020

 

Panel 6 “Economic Networks and Infrastructures: Mobile Actors across Colonial and Post-colonial Spaces in Africa”

9:30 am – 11:00 am CEST

 

Chair: Dmitri van den Bersselaar (Leipzig U)

Comment: Dirk van Laak (Leipzig U)

 

Geert Castryck (Leipzig U): Spheres of Life and Scales of Action among Gujarati and Omani Merchants in Central Africa, 1920s–1930s

Based on bankruptcy and inheritance files from Ruanda-Urundi in the years before and after the Great Depression, this paper reconstructs the different spheres of operation of Indian and Arab merchants, who were operating in the African Great Lakes Region. For crucial moments in life (setting up a business, marriage, birth giving and education, old age and funerals) the sphere of reference was family ties on the scale of the Indian Ocean world. For long-distance trade connections, Omani and Gujarati merchants each had their preferential trade routes, going either via Lake Tanganyika and Dar es Salaam or via Lake Victoria and Mombasa. For regional trade activities, Omani and Gujarati merchant communities each had their own networks, connected via long-time residents, primarily in Kigoma or Bujumbura. However, on the local urban level, they rallied forces in order to lobby with colonial authorities, and contrary to what has been said after independence, they were committed to settle and spend their lives in the area, bringing over family members and staying in the area over several generations. Thus, mobility and permanent settlement went hand in hand, producing locality and maintaining long-distance connections at the same time.

 

René Umlauf & Marian Burchardt (Leipzig U): Infrastructuring Spatial Formats: Drones and Mobility in Africa

New infrastructures of mobility rely on and reinforce existing spatial formats, but they may also challenge and weaken them. In this paper, we explore drone projects that are currently set up in several African countries and analyse the ways in which they enable some sorts of mobility while undercutting others. Our focus is on the use of drones in healthcare sector logistics where drones facilitate the transport of blood samples or light pharmaceuticals. We show how drones technologies and the institutional set-up in which they are embedded operate along global commodity chains and are part of global networks of the digital economy. Importantly, while typically being commissioned and sponsored by national government they also reinforce tendencies towards new infrastructural regimes in which national territories are reimagined around questions and notions of remoteness. In this context, drones mobilize, or set in motion, not people and their bodies in area construed as remote but instead bodily substances, pharmaceuticals that sustain the lives of these bodies and data. Our main interest is in the mutually constitutive dynamics of mobilization and demobilization.

 

Participants:

Dmitri van den Bersselaar (Leipzig U)

see above

 

Dirk van Laak (U Leipzig)

Dirk van Laak is Full Professor of German and European History from the 19th to the 21st Century at Leipzig University. He studied German Literature and History at Essen University and finished his Ph.D. (on Carl Schmitt) at Hagen University in 1993. From 1991 to 1993, he was employed at a State Archive in Düsseldorf. From 1993 to 2007, he was scientific assistant at the Historical Institute of Jena University, supplemented by visiting professorships at universities in Chicago, Tübingen and Freiburg. From 2007 to 2016, he was Full Professor of Contemporary History at Giessen University. He is co-editor of Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte, Themenportal Europäische Geschichte and ‘Geschichte der technischen Kultur’. His main research interests are German and European history and the history of globalization, colonialism, planning and technology, also the history of historiography and its relationship to fiction. His most recent book addressed the everyday and cultural history of infrastructures (“Alles im Fluss. Die Lebensadern unserer Gesellschaft – Vergangenheit und Zukunft der Infrastruktur” Frankfurt/Main: S. Fischer 2018).

 

Geert Castryck (Leipzig U)

Geert Castryck is senior researcher in African and global history at Leipzig University, where he is currently working at the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1199: ‘Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition’. He has published on urban history in East and Central Africa, on Islam in Africa, and on colonialism and decolonization.

 

René Umlauf (U Leipzig)

After receiving his PhD in sociology from the University of Bayreuth in 2015 René Umlauf worked as a post-doc at the Department of Anthropology at Martin-Luther University Halle (until 2019), where he also became part of the LOST research group. In 2020 he joined the Department of Sociology at Leipzig University where he started a project on humanitarian drone infrastructures which is part of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 1199): “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition”. René’s research focuses on conceptual and methodological implications of technological change. In his work on health-, laboratory- and humanitarian-infrastructures he connects this line of inquiry to the broader political, cultural as well as historical encounters between ‘old’ and ‘new’ modes of knowing and doing things.

 

Marian Burchardt (U Leipzig)

Marian Burchardt is a professor of sociology at Leipzig University. His research explores
how power, diversity and subjectivity play out in public space. He is the author of “Faith in the
Times of AIDS” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and co-editor of “Topographies of Faith: Religion in
Urban Spaces” (Brill, 2013) and “Affective Trajectories: Religion and Emotion in African
Cityscapes” (Duke, 2019). His work appeared in International Sociology, Current Sociology,
Sociology of Religion, Social Compass and Comparative Sociology.

 

 

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