The first chapter establishes the overarching argument of the book. It explains why a sustained study of race in the advent of airborne mobility is important when trying to understand how airline travel helped to reshape the composition and experience of empire. Airline travel ushered in new ways to imagine, construct, and inhabit time and space. Yet, even as flight altered the conceptual and physical terrains of empire, this nascent technology remained entwined in the racialist ideas and practices that had grounded earlier imperial projects. Advocating for transdisciplinarity, the chapter also discusses how the disciplines of history and anthropology, as well as aviation and diaspora studies, have considered the relationship between race, airspace, and flight. It raises questions about the lack of attention given to the ways in which people and places in, as well as ideas about, the Caribbean helped to establish contemporary systems of global mobility. It explains why fragments, love, and the act of sensing are crucial for perceiving and understanding how air travel reshaped the geometry of empire and transformed networks of power.
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