About 10 years ago, mobility studies became a specialized yet interdisciplinary academic field in the social sciences, particularly in European academia in the English language, and other developed countries. The publication of scholarly journals that specialize in the study of mobility such as Mobilities, Transfers, Applied Mobilities, and the like, attests to its recognition as a distinct field of scholarly inquiry. Its institutionalization was not only due to the growth in the research and publication in the field but also the establishment of research institutions such as the Center for Mobilities Research (CEMORE) at Lancaster University, England, Center for Mobilities and Urban Studies (CMUS) at Aalborg University, Germany, Center for Mobilities Research and Policy (MCenter), USA, and the Cultural Mobilities Research (CuMoRe) at Leuven University, Belgium.
John Urry, one of the pioneers of mobility studies, conceptualized trans-national studies and trans-disciplinary studies of the kind that worked beyond the notion of unity of “society-nation-state.” Furthermore, his conceptualization went beyond the standard sociology of mobilities, such as studies on mobility technologies, assuming that it naturally belongs to the social sciences as a discipline, exclusively. In the wake of this re-thinking, interest in mobility studies has also increased steadily beyond the social sciences, specifically among South-American and Asian scholars in the Humanities as evidenced by the special issue “Mobilities and Humanities” of Mobilities.
In the context of these developments, therefore, the Academy of Mobility Humanities (AMH) was established as an international research center that is specifically dedicated to mobility studies from a humanistic perspective. It will hold its 2019 international conference in Seoul funded by National Research Foundation of Korea. Specifically, this conference is based on AMH’s understanding of our mobile world today where we are offered infinite possibilities for creativity by stimulating the trans-boundary encounters between distant agencies and yet, we are confronted by the unexpected impasses of human life, culture, and thinking such as environmental destruction in-motion, the privatization and dissolution of culture, and the substitution of the ability of thinking with the capability to “Google it”.
Following on from the academic productions of the last 10 years or so, AMH expects that this international conference will contribute to the expanding and deepening of mobility studies by sharing experiences of mobility, and academic productions from a humanities perspective from Asia, often referred to as the most mobile part of the world in recent times both socially and technologically. In the process this conference aims to stimulate contact between mobility studies in the social sciences and humanities, theorizing experiences of mobility in the region.