CoAS Establishes Center for Mobilities Research and Policy

By Jacob Harte

October 2, 2009 — MobilityThe new Center for Mobilities Research and Policy (mCenter) at Drexel University fosters innovative collaborations between the arts and social sciences, engineering, business, law, media and design, as well as public health. The study of mobilities is a newly emerging interdisciplinary field that encompasses both the large-scale movements of people, objects, capital, and information across the world, as well as the more local processes of daily transportation, movement through public space, and the travel of material things within everyday life. Mobilities research entails interdisciplinary study of the infrastructures, flows, and policies that create the contexts for contemporary mobility (and immobility), including attention to mobility rights, mobility justice, and the new social inequalities being produced by the uneven distribution of “mobility capital.” The mCenter will promote new collaborative approaches, new methods, and the academic leadership to research, envision, and foster alternative mobility futures.

In recent years, the field of mobilities has experienced an exceptional growth in academic interest, policy debate, and business investment. For this reason it offers great opportunities for developing new Co-Op partnerships for students working in local mobile communications companies, locative media start-ups, or transport infrastructure transitions. Dr. Mimi Sheller, professor in the department of culture and communication and director of the mCenter, will introduce this innovative field to Drexel students through her course “Mobilities: Cities on the Move,” and to the wider Drexel community through seminars, symposia, art exhibits, conferences and other events. During the winter term, the mCenter will host a series of invited speakers, as well as a launch event on April 19th, 2010. The mCenter will also host a major conference of the new Pan-American Mobilities Network in the spring of 2011, in conjunction with an art exhibit, symposium, and film screenings on the theme of “Place in Motion.”

Dr. Sheller has played a central role in advancing the new mobilities paradigm within the social sciences, co-founding the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University in the U.K. and the international journal Mobilities. Through her own research on automobility, tourism mobilities, and Caribbean mobilities, she has helped to develop new theoretical approaches and methodological innovations for studying the complex movements of people, objects, information, images, and ideas. As the director of the Drexel’s new mCenter, Dr. Sheller aims to raise the profile of mobilities research in the United States and make Drexel a leader in this new field.

For more information please contact Dr. Mimi Sheller at or visit:

Jacob Harte graduated in June of 2010 with a B.A. in English.