Keynote speakers and abstracts

Keynote 1 | The Enclosure of Movement: An Early Modern Perspective

This talk approaches some of the key themes of this conference through the history of the Holy Roman Empire, one of the politically densest landscapes in early modern Europe. In the Empire’s complex array of variably sized and integrated polities, ordering the movements of goods and people was a constant object of contention between neighbouring rulers, communities, and mobile populations. Such conflicts were often framed as matters of safe-conduct, an institution that was common throughout the early modern world but became a key framework for negotiating freedom of movement and its restriction in the Empire. This keynote evinces from the Empire’s contested roads and rivers a broader reflection on the historical study of political authority and human mobility, with particular emphasis on the role of conceptual framing and cartographic representation.

Luca Scholz

My research focuses on analyzing and questioning data in historical and humanistic inquiry. I am interested in how computational methods and critical data visualization can help us interrogate the historical record and craft meaningful arguments, particularly in the study of human mobility, legal discourse, and environmental history. I hold a PhD in History from the European University Institute, a joint MA in History from the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris and the University of Heidelberg, as well as BA in Economics from the latter university. My first book, “Borders and Freedom of Movement in the Holy Roman Empire”, came out with Oxford University Press in 2020. After holding a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University, I am now Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the University of Manchester (UK).

Keynote 2 | Britain’s Changing Roadscapes, 1990-2020: Attachment, Loss and Opportunity

It is widely accepted that our transition to a  low-carbon mobility future will require significant sacrifices in terms of both our everyday and  more occasional mobility practices, such as holidays. In order to meet such a challenge, it is important that we acknowledge the extent of the losses involved as well as their unequal distribution. The ephemeral places associated with transport and travel constitute a surprisingly emotive beacon of attachment and loss in this respect, and in this paper I draw upon my autoethnographic research on driving Britain’s roads over the past quarter-century to illustrate how the life course of the road-user and that the road can become entangled. Even subtle transformations to the roadscape can serve to disorientate and confound road-users, and the more spectacular changes resulting from the demolition of roadside architecture, carriageway ‘improvements’ or spiralling congestion can transform what was once familiar into alien and confusing space. This, in turn, can seriously disrupt the the rhythms and routines of travel through the erasure of (for example) the landmarks and stopping places that have structured the journey in the past. However, by developing a better understanding of the processes of place attachment and place memory associated with transport infrastructures, mobilities scholars are well-placed to advise on those aspects of travel that should be protected, or recreated, even as our patterns of mobility, and the vehicles we travel in, assume a different form.

Lynne Pearce

Lynne Pearce is Professor of Literary and Cultural Theory at Lancaster University (UK) and  Co-Director (Humanities) of CeMoRe (Centre for Mobilities Research): Her recent mobilities publications include Drivetime: Literary Excursions in Automotive Consciousness (2016),  Mobility, Memory and the Lifecourse in Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture (2019) and Mobility and the Humanities (with Peter Merriman) (2018)). She is also co-editor (with Marian Aguiar and Charlotte Mathieson) of book series Palgrave Studies in Mobilities, Literature and Culture and an Adjunct Editor of Transfers.