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Empire in the AirAirline Travel and the African Diaspora$
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Chandra D. Bhimull

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479843473

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479843473.001.0001

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Empire in the Air

Chandra D. Bhimull

NYU Press

The second chapter opens with a discussion of the history of commercial aviation in Britain. It examines the intricate decision-making process that gave rise to Imperial Airways after the First World War. Rather than focus on the decision itself, the chapter undertakes a close reading of the official conference and committee records, illuminating the racism that informed the process to create government-backed airline travel in Britain. The development of commercial air transport services was not a foregone conclusion for the British government. Officials struggled to figure out if nonmilitarized aviation should foster national interests within Europe or imperial bonds across the empire. Attention to the debates and concerns that arose in decision-making spaces such as conferences and committees reveals the extent to which the empire-state aligned airline travel with the cultivation of imperial practices other than colonialism.

Keywords:   aviation, colonialism, commercial air transport, government, empire, empire-state, Imperial Airways

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