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Empire in the Air: Airline Travel and the African Diaspora
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Empire in the Air: Airline Travel and the African Diaspora (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Examines the role that race played in the inception of the airline industry Empire in the Air is at once a history of aviation, and an examination of how air travel changed lives along the transatlantic corridor of the African diaspora. Focusing on Britain and its Caribbean colonies, Chandra Bhimull reveals how the black West Indies shaped the development of British Airways. Bhimull offers a unique analysis of early airline travel, illuminating the links among empire, aviation and diaspora, and in doing so provides insights into how racially oppressed people experienced air travel. The emergence of artificial flight revolutionized the movement of people and power, and Bhimull makes the connection between airplanes and the other vessels that have helped make and maintain the African diaspora: the slave ships of the Middle Passage, the tracks of the Underground Railroad, and Marcus Garvey's black-owned ocean liner. As a new technology, airline travel retained the racialist ideas and practices that were embedded in British imperialism, and these ideas shaped every aspect of how commercial aviation developed, from how airline routes were set, to who could travel easily and who could not. The author concludes with a look at airline travel today, suggesting that racism is still enmeshed in the banalities of contemporary flight.

History & PoliticsRegional & national historyHistory of the AmericasPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesAnthropologySocial & cultural anthropology Publisher: New York University Press Publication Date: 12/12/2017 ISBN-13: 9781479843473  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: Currently unavailable to order online.  

Chandra D. Bhimull is Associate Professor at Colby College, where she teaches in the Department of Anthropology and the African-American Studies Program. She is a coeditor of Anthrohistory: Unsettling Knowledge, Questioning Disciplines.

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