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Bringing Transport into Black Geographies: Policies, Protests, and Planning in Johannesburg


Year published: 2023
Categories: Journal Article

Author / Authors:

  • Astrid Wood


Annals of the American Association of Geographers, DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2022.2151407


This article contributes to the burgeoning dialogue in Black geographies by adding a focus on transport. Because there is no singular, all-encompassing framework for Black geographies, this article draws on a long history of Blackness and Whiteness in the discipline of geography and beyond. It contextualizes the contemporary conversation within critical reflections from feminist, indigenous, and queer as well as decolonial and postcolonial studies. These wider considerations are especially important for geography, a discipline historically detached from efforts to deracialize the city. The article then refines its focus on Blackness and transport by reflecting on race and mobility in South African cities. The empirical focus for these deliberations is Johannesburg, where transport has historically been used as a tool for discrimination and control, and in the postapartheid context, transport provides unbridled opportunities for social and spatial integration. Three frameworks for exploring Black transport geographies are then introduced: the policies and laws that control movement, community action and protest against racist transport, and the emergence of informal transport systems. The aim of this article, however, is not to promote a particular approach for bringing transport into conversation with Black geographies, but rather to provide a rigorous reflection that is not only analytically productive but practically useful.


  • Journal Article