PHONE: (313) 593-5518
DATE: October 4, 2004
The social, economic, political and cultural impacts
DEARBORN---More than 120 scholars from around the world are expected
to explore how transportation has affected urban development, human cultures,
business practices and national economies at a conference to be held at
the University of Michigan-Dearborn Nov. 4-7.
"This conference reflects the broadest interpretation of what the
word 'mobility' means," according to Bruce Pietrykowski, UM-Dearborn
economics professor and director of the Center
for the Study of Automotive Heritage, one of the conference coordinators.
Conference on the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility"
will include presentations on a range of topics from the advertising strategies
of car companies to the role of railroads in national identity, from urban
traffic regulation to the influence of gender and race in vehicle design,
from the diffusion of the automobile in Europe to "the history of
"This conference involves more than the history of transport technology,
although that is an important topic," Pietrykowski said. "Mobility
is also a political, social and cultural force that has influenced our
perception of time and space. Think of the architecture designed specifically
around the automobile or attempts to create oases of pedestrian travel
in the middle of busy cities or 'just-in-time' manufacturing--each of
these affects our patterns of mobility."
The keynote speaker will be David
Harvey, professor of anthropology at the City University of New York,
whose books on the history of cities and globalization are required reading
for courses in urban planning, sociology, and political economy, according
to Pietrykowski. "He is a geographer first and foremost, who revolutionized
the field by examining how urban spaces are affected by social hierarchies,
class relations and power structures," Pietrykowski said.
Harvey will speak at 4 p.m. Nov. 4 in the auditorium of the Social Sciences
Building at the UM-Dearborn campus. His talk, titled "The Fetishism
of Technology: Causes and Consequences," is part of the campus's
Text in Community series and is free and open to the public.
The conference was organized by the International
Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility, which
was founded at a meeting in the Netherlands in 2003. "We agreed at
that time to hold our second meeting in the Detroit area because of the
region's wealth of resources and historic sites integral to the history
of transportation and mobility," Pietrykowski said.
There will be approximately 80 scholarly presentations during the four-day
conference, which also will include visits to numerous sites connected
to the automotive heritage of the Detroit area, including the Henry
Ford Estate, the Ford
Rouge plant and the Diego
Rivera mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Other members of the UM-Dearborn faculty who will speak at the conference
include Chancellor Daniel Little, Profs. Georgina Hickey, Jason Weems
and Jonathan Smith, and Kae Halonen, a researcher affiliated with the
Center for the Study of Automotive Heritage.
Those interested in attending the conference should contact Sharie Beard
at firstname.lastname@example.org or (313) 593-4925.
In addition to the University of Michigan-Dearborn and its Center for
the Study of Automotive Heritage, support for the conference came from
the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and
Mobility, The Henry Ford and
the MotorCities Automotive National