GUS Faculty Dr. Jacob Shell has recently published a new book titled Transportation and Revolt: Pigeons, Mules, Canals, and the Vanishing Geographies of Subversive Mobility (MIT Press, 2015). In this book, he argues that political regimes have historically associated certain modes of transportation with revolt or subversive activities and have responded by acting to destroy or curtail those modes of transportation. Examining the connection between physical geography and the politics of mobility, Dr. Shell discusses the various animals or types of transportation that have been considered subversive by the regimes in power and the actions taken against them. He draws upon examples such as carrier pigeons in World War I and a inner-city freight system in New York City in the early 20th century.
“Jacob Shell’s Transportation and Revolt opens up a secret world of subversive mobilities, clandestine trafficking, and insurgent evasion. Out of this colorful and overlooked history, Shell gleans a new way of understanding why certain transportation infrastructures have not been built. This exhilarating history of ungovernable mobility reveals what is at stake in not only building, but also abandoning and destroying, transportation technologies. I highly recommend it for the new angles it will bring to anyone interested in mobility, transport, and urban planning, as well as social history, radical political history, and regional studies.”
—Mimi Sheller, Director of the Center for Mobilities Research and Policy, Drexel University, and author of Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity
“Humans make revolutions, but not without help. Pigeons, mules, elephants, and sled dogs, among others, have been essential vectors of modern revolt, as Jacob Shell confidently demonstrates in this remarkable study of the disruptive power of transport.”
—Joyce E. Chaplin, James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History, Harvard University, and author of Round about the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit
Shell, Jacob. (2015). Transportation and Revolt: Pigeons, Mules, Canals, and the Vanishing Geographies of Subversive Mobility. Boston, MA: MIT Press.