The collaboration will explore the varied relationships that exist between two different understandings of the word traffic. The first is vehicles moving on a road and the second is the trading in something illegal. The aim is to engage themes such as security, mobility, and infrastructure in the Americas from a novel perspective. The participating units include the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto, the Latin American and Caribbean Centre at the LSE, the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin, and the Centro Interdisciplinario de Estudios sobre Desarrollo at the Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia).
Annual workshops will form the backbone of the collaboration, in Toronto (Spring 2019), Los Angeles (Spring 2020), Bogotá (Spring 2021), and London (Spring 2022), with the specificities of each city grounding each conversation. Faculty and students at all career stages will take part. “We’re thrilled about this partnership,” said Kevin Lewis O’Neill, the Director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto, “I cannot think of a more generative theme or a more dynamic set of research institutes to rethink hemispheric politics.” Austin Zeiderman of the LSE added: “Traffic and trafficking are cross-cutting phenomena that increasingly shape social and political life throughout the Americas. It is an urgent theme.” The first workshop will place the city of Toronto at the center of this conversation, allowing it to serve as a window onto the Americas. Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin, Ananya Roy, stated, “We look forward to developing theory and research that takes account of the relationship between (im)mobility, (il)legality, and racialized/policed bodies.” Sergio Montero, of Bogotá’s Universidad de los Andes, added “traffic can provide an interesting framework to think about how the movement (or lack thereof) of things, bodies and ideas is shaping current processes of urbanization and development.”
(Banner image credit: Adam Cohn, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)