The International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T2M) invites proposals for papers to be presented at the Eighth International Conference on the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility, to be held in New Delhi, India, 2nd to 5th December 2010. One panel will explore tourism-related transportation in socialist countries.
The dominance of public transport (especially trains and buses) in socialist countries contrasts with the strong and constantly increasing appreciation for the automobile – and later the aeroplane - in tourism-related transport in western societies. Nevertheless there are huge national differences, e.g. capitalist European countries were/are much less automobile-oriented than the USA; or: the sheer size of the USSR made other means of transportation the most viable option than in other socialist countries of a smaller size.
All socialist governments have favoured public transport and have therefore instituted strong control over transportation policy in their respective countries, often through central ministries. Tourism was given an important role within the activities of these institutions since at least the 1970s – when the systems competed with more and more individual transportation (especially automobiles) used especially for vacation trips – partly as a matter of socialist ideology. Private transportation was made expensive and uncomfortable – waiting times for cars, low product quality, rationing of petrol, limited road network – while public transport was nearly always available and cheap. On the contrary more market-oriented countries have partly neglected public transport, while opening the market for private transport initiatives; and furthermore developments to improve individual transportation have been subsidised. In socialist countries, while promoting and providing it in large quantities, public transport was run on a low level of comfort and service since this ‘non-productive’ sector was considered to be of secondary economic importance. Concerning tourism, public transport was thought to be most consistent with a planned economy, since there were clear limits and moreover a dense control on people’s mobility.
The papers should critically address one or more of the following assumed benefits of transportation adjusted to the general conference’s categories:
- Mobility of labour/people and capital: Mobility of labour/people and capital increases with the development of transport. An efficient network of transport services encourages the movement of people from one place to another place (meant in terms of tourism).
- Discovery of new lands: Transport has helped the discovery of new lands and the growth of cities and urbanisation. It allowed people to experience different regions/countries as a tourist, whilst broadening one’s personal horizon as well as to relax.
- Destroys ignorance: Transport promotes culture, removes prejudices and destroys ignorance, helping in spreading and furthering the cause of education.
- National unity, integration and peace: Transport helps to maintain internal peace and the national unity of a country. It brings about national integration.
- Sources of revenue: Transport helps in increasing the national wealth and income of a country. It is also a source of revenue to the government.
Papers should furthermore connect the two topics “transportation” and “development” and answer the question of how the creation of a national policy framework on transportation and/or regulations help(ed) in development, understood as progress in modernity, but also as momentum of ideological integration?
The panel especially invites transnational, comparative and transmodal contributions, but is also interested in theoretical papers and case studies from different historical periods and countries (not only of central and eastern Europe, but also of other parts of the world).v
For more detailed information on the conference itself, please see: http://www.t2m.org. The conference language is English (only). The deadline for abstracts in this panel and a short CV (max. 1 page each; word or rich text format only) is 1st May 2010. Please send proposals to Heike Wolter: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will forward all documents to T2M, with an overview of the panel, explaining why it matters and how each of the papers addresses the panel’s theme.
Notification of acceptance by T2M will be sent in the first week of June 2010. The full text of papers accepted must be submitted by 15th September 2010 if they are to be included on the conference CD-ROM sent in advance to all participants and if they are to be eligible for T2M Awards and Travel Grants (extra application necessary). Submission of a fully completed poster form (1 page A4) is mandatory for all speakers (further details will be given later on the conference website).
T2M especially invites younger scholars to participate in the conference. Letters of acceptance for the selected papers will be sent out on request as soon as possible, in order to facilitate applications for funding. Travel grants are available for a limited number of PhD-students, information about the application process will be stated on T2M’s website shortly.
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