It’s “spring”. Yet there are still plenty of days where I cycle home from the office, hoping that the rain doesn’t turn into ice. It usually does. Cycling against the wind along a long stretch of cycle path with the little pellets of icy rain striking my face really hurts. But one of the many things I truly love about living in Amsterdam is the cycling, no matter what the weather is like. Cycling to pick up a bottle of wine, or to drop off the recycling, or to head to the train station, or to go out to a restaurant, or to shuttle singing children in a bakfiets to school, all helmet-less and unfazed and nonplussed. The ease and safety of cycling on dedicated bicycle lanes here in the Netherlands is actually deterring me from cycling when I am in NYC or London, at least until the infrastructure gets better and it is seen more as a regular mode of transport. This notion of an everyday cycling culture was discussed last Friday (see Manuel Stoffers’s great cycling history bibliography and a nice page of links to cycling) at a seminar that was probably the first gathering of mobilities scholars in the Netherlands. Other papers and projects involved mobile phone use in Cameroon, oil crises and sustainability, global deportation regimes, and my own thoughts on regional transport hubs as part of a new research project that I will discuss more of in the upcoming months. John Urry from Lancaster (who was also there) has a Centre for Mobilities Research and has just released a CFP for a very interesting-looking conference on Mobility Futures hosted by CeMoRe in September.
In other news, I am honoured to be a new member of the editorial board of Himalaya. It is really an excellent publication for anyone doing research in various academic disciplines related to the Himalayas (broadly-defined). It publishes reports from the field as well as dissertation abstracts, which are nice options for graduate students around the world looking to publish in international peer-reviewed journals. In even better news, rumour has it that they are working towards an open access situation, something that one of my favourite journals, Cultural Anthropology, has just committed to over the next year or so. I feel strongly about this, especially having spent time with brilliant scholars, researchers, and journalists in many parts of the world who do not have access to articles in journals trapped behind expensive paywalls.