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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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(p.125) 6 Descent
Empire in the Air

Chandra D. Bhimull

NYU Press

Chapter 6 focuses on the transition from Imperial Airways to the British Overseas Airways Corporation in the late 1930s. Government officials feared that Imperial Airways as the chosen instrument of the state had advanced not the nation but the empire. A contentious and paradoxical claim about British identity, a fierce debate over the limits of a government-backed airline erupted in parliament. Occasionally, remarks about the lack of British air services in the Caribbean and broader Atlantic were made in the context of creating a nationalized airline. A close reading of the parliamentary record not only reveals but also recasts brief references to the region as vital colonial disruptions challenging the vision of nationhood Britain had imagined for itself.

Keywords:   British Overseas Airways Corporation, identity, nation, nationalized airline, nationhood

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