Mobilities Courses

COM690 Special Topic: Mobile Media and Mobilities Research

Winter term, 2014
Instructor: Professor Mimi Sheller

This course will examine the development of mobile media (including mobile smart phones, mobile social networking, mobile locational services, mobile gaming, and mobile art) and its role in re-shaping social and spatial relations in contemporary cities. Drawing on the interdisciplinary field of mobilities research, the course will use both empirical research on specific mobile interfaces and new theoretical approaches to im/mobilities, connected presence, and hybrid digital space to explore the changing social meanings and cultural practices of mobile media.

SOC312: Mobility Systems

Topics in the Sociology of Science and Technology
Fall term, 2013, T R 3:30 – 4:50 pm Macalister 4011
Instructor: Professor Mimi Sheller

Are we approaching the end of “car culture” in the United States? This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of mobilities research as a new way to understand the current process of transition from the 20th-century system of fossil-fuel dependent automobility, highways, and suburbanization towards an emerging system of alternative fuels, mixed transport modes, new kinds of vehicle sharing and innovation in infrastructures and mobility systems. It also asks how new forms of mobile communication and “smart” connectivity are changing the way we interact with other people, with information, and with places while moving.


Spring term 2013
Instructors: Hana Iverson and Mimi Sheller

What makes a city neighborhood vibrant, vital and healthy and how can the arts participate in the regeneration of a neighborhood? How do people, places, events, and activities organized around the arts and creative processes contribute to a thriving city? This class is comprised of a series of invited arts practitioners who work at the intersection of creativity and urban vitality. Through a roundtable format we pair visiting artists every other week with neighborhood residents, Drexel faculty, leaders of local neighborhood initiatives, and students in the class, all in conversation with each other. Every alternate week the students discuss related readings and responses to the roundtables, and turn in their own reflections to the work through their particular discipline, i.e., either by writing scholarly papers or working in their own arts medium. Assignments are custom designed to fit with each student's major, and will become a collective portfolio that contains a cross-disciplinary portrait of "urban vitality".

COM 801-501 Seminar in Contemporary Theory: The New Mobilities Paradigm

Instructor: Professor Mimi Sheller

This course will introduce students to the new mobilities paradigm in the social sciences and to new “mobile methodologies”, using a case-study approach. The study of mobilities is an emerging interdisciplinary field that focuses on the intersecting movements of people, vehicles, objects, capital, information and images through complex networked mobility systems. Mobilities research draws on approaches in sociology, geography, anthropology, and science and technology studies, to address issues including the future of transportation and urban sustainability; travel and tourism; migration and transnational circulation; mobile communications and augmented reality; smart borders and surveillance. The course will also pay attention to the relation between mobility and immobility, and policy concerns around mobility justice and the uneven distribution of mobility capital. Students will develop individual projects in an area of their own choice, guided by course readings and research presentation workshops.