other road projects

Tune in! - Trotro drivers' truck horn jazz

LA TROTRO DRIVERS UNION POR POR GROUP: tune in (stream 16.02.06)

"Por Por music, invented by prominent timber truck drivers in Accra, dates to 1939-1945. It is played today by La branch drivers in the Ghana Private Road Transport Union who operate trotros, the minibuses that are the heart of Accra's public transport system. ... The Por Por Group also sings tales of life on the road." [more]

Prof Stephen Feld: "the minibus drivers are oral historians of the vehicles, routes, and driving stories that map the history of Ghana's roads since before the time of independence through the last 50 years" [more]
via Alexa - thx!

Panel on 'Mobility in Society: Routinized Flows, Modes of Transit, Passages'

Call for Papers for AAA Meetings, San Jose, 2006

Theories of modernity have attended to the ways that configurations of space localize and refract power to produce subjectivities. Simultaneously, anthropologists have detailed transformations of social forms and values produced by "global" mobility, with ensuing debates over standardization of (liberal) values and practices, or the emergence of particular, local transformations and configurations.

Less attention, however, has been paid to the ways that local bureaucracies and politics configure space to enable, block, or shape the possibility for more mundane, routine and local forms of mobility facilitated by automobiles, busses, bicycles, trains, or public-transit--or how the possibilities for routine, local mobility shapes social worlds. Mid-level moments of transit have historically been "invisible" as fruitful objects of anthropological investigation. This panel invites submissions related to the synergism between social, political and bureaucratic, and technical dimensions of middle-level mobility. [more; contact]

Panel on 'Transport Studies' at ASA Conference 2006

Kenda Mutongi, an East Africa historian*, invites papers for her "Transport Studies" panel at the ASA Annual Meeting in San Franciso, November 2006:
"If you are working on anything that has to do with transportation and especially with commuters' experiences or taxi culture, and are interested in the panel, please let me know. My own contribution will focus on matatus in Kenya, examining the cultures and subcultures of people who operate the minibuses."

PROJECT: People and engines in Africa

Jan-Bart Gewald, researcher at the African Studies Centre in Leiden*, has recently set up a five year inter-institutional multi-disciplinary research programme entitled ICE in Africa: the relationship between people and the Internal Combustion Engine in Africa.
See this description of his socio-historical history case study on the impact of the impact of motor-vehicles in Zambia.

PROJECT: Conference on history of motor-vehicles in Africa

Panel 25 at the AEGIS 2005* conference in London: "Of drivers, mechanics, traders and prostitutes: a social history of motor-vehicles in Africa in the 20th century".
Convened by J-B Gewald (ASC Leiden researcher*), the panel assembled papers on vehicles, transport and roads (forthcoming in an edited volume!). My own contribution was on 'Religion on the Road in Ghana' .

PROJECT: Conference on social life of transit networks

Past conference in May 2005 - Of Mediums and Motored Ways: The Social Lives of Transit Networks (University of Washington):
IMG_6057-bb-web-small"This conference explores the social life of transit networks by asking how sites of transport-railway stations, bus and road networks, multi-lane super-highways, and subway systems-have provided new mediums for communication, promising liberation, progress, and unification. At the same time, we also demonstrate ways in which these networks have created new spaces for the materialization and experience of violence, alienation and resistance." See 'road' approaches, participants and abstracts.

PROJECT: Roads and politics of knowledge in Peru

An ongoing research project by Prof Penelope Harvey* and Dr Hannah Knox*, entitled Roads to Development: Uneven Modernities and the Politics of Knowledge.
Apart from the project overview and the research proposal, more documents will be available on the project page* soon.

PROJECT: Conference on 'roads and walls'

Anthropology Graduate Students at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC*) are organizing a conference on "Roads and Walls: Concrete Histories" on March 3rd, 2006:
  • "Roads structure both licit and illicit traffic. Roads are the arteries of empire—and flat, open places for ball games. Roads destroy forests, and they guide personal quests. Roads bring us to the crossroads of science and desire; they offer us vantage points to see the rise and fall of kingdoms, colonies, nations, and empires."

  • More on how they define and conceptualize 'roads' .

    Experiencing the Accra-Kumasi Road (AKR):

    An ethnographic project on roads, commercial driving and everyday travel in Ghana [more]

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    Ch1: Accra-Kumasi Road
    Ch2: Inhabiting the roadside
    Ch3: Road travelling
    Ch4: Passenger's body
    Ch5: Commercial driving
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