Gijs Mom, a mobility historian from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, is currently finishing a book project tentatively titled WORLD MOBILITY HISTORY 1900 – 2015, to be published in 2020 by Berghahn Books, New York. As a non-native Chinese speaker, he is trying to ‘mobilizing’ Chinese (speaking) students to get a better, historical grip on president Xi Jinping’s 2013 One Belt One Road initiative which is located at the crossroads of development history and mobility history.
In the past couple of years, as founder-editor of the journal Transfers and editor of the book series Explorations of Mobility (both published by Berghahn Books), he has put a lot of energy in giving the informal transport industry its proper historical face. Chapters in his upcoming book about Latin American, African and Asian informal transport testify of this interest. As part of this project, he co-organized several workshops in universities in Delhi, Kolkata, Burdwan and Dhaka dedicated to the history and politics of the rickshaw and its relation to the poor and modernization, including cooperation with rickshawwalla activists in Delhi and Kolkata. His new book is one long refutation of the Rostowian stagist model and a plea for what he calls the “layerdness” of mobility in the Global South and East: the coexistence of “old” and “new,” the intermingling of traffic flows that require a fully different approach than Western transport management based on the simple separation of flows. We need New Mobility Studies to take on the challenges posed by transport modernizations beyond the West!