Due to covid-19, all events at University of Helsinki were cancelled for the spring of 2020. The Transit, Trade and Travel conference that was supposed to take place on May 11 was postponed until further notice. According to current plans the conference will happen in May 2021. Should the pandemic situation allow, we will organize a live event in Helsinki. If travel and / or events are restricted or cancelled again, the conference will happen online. More information on this coming later.
Transit, Trade and Travel (TTT) is a research project funded by the Academy of Finland which focusses on transit zones and crossroads areas of the Mediterranean. We concentrate on places that can be seen as spaces-in-between, temporal and spatial “knots” that exist within and between different chains of global circulation. We are interested in producing ethnographic insights onto how different ‘locating regimes’ (from bureaucratic techniques and regulations to financial institutions, from language to religious structures, from agricultural practices to transport infrastructure and digital technologies) contribute to produce or mitigate spatio-temporal frictions and ‘tensions’ in these kinds of cross-road spaces. Often located near a border or a passageway, zones of transit, trade and travel constitute particularly fertile ground to explore tensions between different locating regimes and how they generate meaning and value in these particular zones.
This one-day symposium aims to open up this discussion to geographical regions within and beyond the Mediterranean, and to create a forum where researchers across the world working on other areas broadly associated with notions of crossroads, passageways and buffer zones can meet and share ideas. We are interested in papers in anthropology and cognate disciplines that explore, from an ethnographic and theoretical perspective, how the in-betweenness of these areas shapes and is shaped by experiences and practices of trade, transit and travel, both on the macro-scale (e.g. export processing zones, free ports and other trade hubs) and on the micro-scale (e.g. street markets, bazaars, etc). We are interested in the logistics and logics by which these places operate, but also in the experiences, activities, and histories of those who inhabit them and bring them to life.