CFP: Seventh International Conference on the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T2M)

Lucerne, Switzerland
November 5–8, 2009

– Energy and Innovation –

The International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T2M) invites proposals for papers to be presented at its Seventh International Conference to be held at the Verkehrshaus der Schweiz (Swiss Museum of Transport), Lucerne, Switzerland from November 5th till the 8th, 2009.

The conference is organised by historians from different universities as well as by the Swiss Museum of Transport. Switzerland’s most visited museum celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2009 and is being rebuilt and expanded for this occasion at the time. This year the conference theme is ‚Energy and Innovation’. The CfP asks for papers in this thematic field but it is at the same time open to all subjects in the history of transport, traffic, and mobility.  The language of the conference is English.

Traffic is motion and therefore energy is imperative. It doesn’t matter what, how or where to one moves – performance, or the conversion of energy into motion, is always preconditioned. The modernisation of traffic since the 18th century can be seen as a process in the course of which means of transport that relied in the end on solar energy were replaced by means of transport that relied on nonrenewable energy. Thus, the focus was shifted from the likes of walking, rowing, sailing, horseback riding and the usage of animal traction to mechanical means of transport such as the steam engine, the combustion engine and rocket propulsion.Where did the question of energy figure in the acceleration and intensification of traffic? Where in the choice of a means of transport, in the question ‘street or ship’? How was energy efficiency for new machines increased? Conversely, how was their environmental pollution reduced? Why did one choose a specific propulsion? How did the price of energy affect the price of transport and mobility? How big was the influence of private traffic and energy business thereby, how great the weight of governmental politics?

According to economist Joseph Schumpeter, innovations are elementary improvements that shake the economy and the community which means in this case that they produce new means of transport such as train, car or plane. Which economical, social, cultural and political conditions leveraged which means of transport? Innovations never were the result of mere business calculations and engineering efforts. Behind those were always sociocultural factors such as the ideology of freedom, the appetite for adventure and discovery or the play instinct and surge for fame. Also, new combinations of existing means of transport could lead to innovation.

Proposals which connect the two conference topics (energy and innovation) are eminently favoured: How was the velocity of a means of transport increased without a multiplication of energy consumption? Do new means of transport prevail mainly in times of war and crisis? Could premodern and antiquated means of transport increase their efficiency under the pressure of competition of new modes of drive as for example the fast sailing ships that came up under the pressure of the steam boat around 1850? Is a renaissance of premodern and environmentally sound means of transport imaginable?

Participants are encouraged, though not required, to organize panels on these themes. A panel consists of a chair and normally up to three speakers; no commentator is required. We especially encourage transnational, comparative and transmodal approaches, and welcome proposals exploring theoretical or methodological issues as well as those of a more empirical nature. Relevant contributions are welcome from historians as well as from cultural geographers, sociologists, anthropologists, economists, and other scholars who do not define themselves as historians. We especially invite recent entrants to the profession and doctoral students to submit proposals.

T2M 2009 wants to invest more energy into communication. Posters of all oral presentations will be exhibited in the public area of Switzerland’s most visited museum. This innovation will contribute to better promotion of the history of transport, traffic and mobility as a scientific discipline and as a public service. Submission of a fully completed poster form (1 page A4) is mandatory for all speakers. Posters will be judged. Poster forms will be made available later on the website of the programme committee.

The deadline for abstracts and a short CV (max one page each; Word or rich text format only) is the 15th of April, 2009. Session proposals should also include a one-page overview of the session. Please send proposals to: Submitters will be notified by the programme committee during the first week of May 2009 on the success or status of their submission. The full paper of all accepted submissions and of the posters must be delivered on or before August 15th, 2009. These papers will be copied onto a conference CD-ROM for distribution in advance to all conference participants. Individual presentations at the conference are therefore to be limited to a fifteen-minute summary to allow for debate and discussion within the session. All participants are required to register.

For details of T2M and of previous conferences, please visit: Further details of the conference (including the poster form) will be posted on a website of the Programme Committee which is currently under construction and will go online later.

Programme Committee:
Laurent Tissot (University of Neuchâtel) (Chair); Stéphanie von Erlach (sbb historic/Bern); Ueli Haefeli (University of Bern); Gisela Huerlimann (University of Zurich/Swiss Federal Institute of Technology); Christoph Maria Merki (University of Bern); This Oberhaensli (Swiss Museum of Transport); Christian Pfister (University of Bern); Hans-Ulrich Schiedt (ViaStoria/University of Bern); Henry Wydler (Swiss Museum of Transport)

Scientific Committee (for paper acceptance):
Laurent Tissot (University of Neuchâtel), Gisela Huerlimann (University of Zurich/Swiss Federal Institute of Technology); Hans-Liudger Dienel (Berlin University of Technology, Germany), Garth Wilson (Canada Science and Technology Museum, Ottawa/Canada)