(current convenors: Marco Bertilorenzi, Chiara Rabbiosi and Margherita Cisani)

The so-called new mobilities paradigm does not constitute a change such that concepts of place, territory, landscape and borders are considered outdated and no longer suitable for studying times and spaces or providing interpretative keys to texts, representations or discourses. The mobility turn does not introduce radically new themes, since the social sciences and the humanities have always dealt with movements and especially with those of individuals and peoples. The main feature of this new paradigm is instead the development of a holistic and interdisciplinary reflection on what mobility is, as well as on a comparative, multiscalar and transcalar approach. Scales and research areas that used to be disconnected are now stimulated to meet and confront under the mobilities studies umbrella and to reconsider their own concepts, models and objects of study with a renewed focus on the role of mobility.

The attention on people on the move is a central aspect of the research inspired by the mobility turn. Scales and subjects of the studies dealing with people’s mobility are innumerable: single movements of bodies—living, dead or even parts of bodies; dances and rhythms of daily movements characterising contemporaneity or past ages; movements inside our homes, in schools and offices, within neighbourhoods and along the streets, in gated communities as well as in refugee camps; movements within metropolis, by road or rail, between countryside and city, for different purposes (tourism, trade, military campaigns or religious pilgrimages); migrations and the movement of peoples through political or physical borders, between states or continents.

This node aims to explore whether and how this renewed attention to people’s mobility and movements, over a temporal and chronological period of longue durée and with diachronic and comparative approaches, can fruitfully influence the already consolidated studies characterising the Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World. This approach also aims at stimulating new research projects willing to consider and problematise what happens during movement, between the places from which or to which people move, in its material, symbolic and experiential aspects, as well as exploring how different movements and movements of people can redefine places themselves, in a dynamic and diachronic perspective.

In order to contribute to a mobile approach in the humanities, this node plans to deepen different themes, such as:

  • migrations of peoples and individuals over time: reasons, conditions, experiences, representations and narrations; permanent, temporary or seasonal migrations
  • other forms of mobility: small-scale daily movements, commuters, conditions and mobility possibilities for the elderly or young people, group mobilities, tourism, military travels, mobility of students and scientists, mobility in the afterlife, the movements of priests and friars, merchants, entrepreneurs, artisans and other professionals, pilgrims, patrons and people carrying works of art
  • the immobility of people: the political and social control of mobility on people of different gender, origin, condition; frictions, obstacles and barriers to travel