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Annals cover 2016Every year since 2009 our flagship journal, the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, has published a special issue that highlights geographic research around a significant global theme.

The eighth special issue of the Annals, published in March 2016, brings together 26 articles on the Geographies of Mobility, edited by Mei-Po Kwan and Tim Schwanen.

Of course, the concept of mobility is nothing new in geography. A survey of articles published in the Annals between 1911 and 2010 reveals scholarship on a diversity of subject matter from individual daily commuting to cattle herding patterns, and from international trade in commodities to upward social mobility.

Over recent years conceptualizations of mobility and immobility have become richer and more diverse, in particular moving beyond understanding mobility simply as a physical movement to also consider the social meanings and embodied practice of such movement. The scholarly developments of the last decade – the ‘mobilities turn’ – have elevated mobility to become one of core concepts of geography.

Special issues are a long time in the making, this one having its genesis three years ago with a call for abstracts. Co-editor Kwan says, “We were astounded to receive 230 submissions, a record for the Annals special issues. The topics of abstracts reflected the heterogeneous ways in which geographers are engaging with mobility from leisure travel to the immobility of persecuted people, and from space–time modeling to mobility in the context of natural disasters.”

The Editors faced a tough selection process to choose papers to reflect a diversity of theme, perspective, approach, method, and regional focus. Co-editor, Schwanen says, “While this special issue is certainly not the first forum for a plurality of geographic approaches to the study of mobility, we believe that this attempt is unique in scale, openness, and heterogeneity of contributors.”

Each individual article makes an important contribution to the geographies of mobility but the strength of a special issue is in enabling new insights to emerge. Kwan says, “In this exciting collection we can see cross-cutting themes, lines of connection and differentiations, and new opportunities for conversation within the discipline.”

The Annals of the AAG publishes six times a year (January, March, May, July, September and November). See the table of contents of the Geographies of Mobility special issue or go to the T&F website to access the full articles. If you are interested in submitting a paper to the Annals, please refer to the information for authors.