Workshops – Fractured Skies

Fractured Skies: Civil Aviation and the Global South

28 and 29 June 2022

Airplanes and civil aviation have played a central role in the economics, politics, and cultures of the twentieth century. They have been crucial in both twentieth century nationalism and internationalism, and in the politics of independent nation-state building and the construction of colonial empires. Aeromobility and airmindedness have been essential for shaping a vivid, material imagination of a globally connected world, and the development of civil aviation has emerged as a key goal of states, rich and poor.

Histories of civil aviation have traditionally focused on airline development or linear approaches to technical innovations and progress. In recent years however new historiographical and methodological approaches have opened up new vistas by bringing in broader geographical, cultural, political, economic, and social currents.

This workshop seeks to bring together these new perspectives to explore aviation in relation to the Global South. It looks to bring these new historiographical and methodological currents in the history of aviation into conversation with developments in other fields of history and further afield in the social sciences and humanities. We invite historians, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, geographers, and scholars from other interested disciplines to reflect on all aspects of civil aviation, aerial mobility, and aerial infrastructure in the Global South. We invite scholars who can explore the intersections of civil aviation with military aviation and other aspects of state action and governance at regional, national, and international levels through micro and macro case-studies and other interventions.


28 June


9:00 am – 9:30 am CET

Session 1: The Politics of Flying​

9:30 am – 11:30 am CET

Maria Lucenti (University of Hamburg, Germany), “Flying to Conquer: the Representation of Flight in Italian Textbooks (1930-1945)”
Jessica Lynne Pearson (Macalester College, USA), “Colonial Reform in Flight: the Politics of Air Travel at the End of Empire”
Kaori Takada (Otsuma Women’s University, Japan), “Okinawa Tourism from the Beginning of the Jet Age”

11:30 am – 12:00 pm CET

Session 2: Controlling Knowledge and Technology ​

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm CET

Sabrina Lausen (University of Paderborn, Germany), “’Human Factors’ in the Global South: Technology Transfer and the Concepts of Man and Machine”
Jiakai Jeremy Chua (University of Southern California, USA), “Defying the Gravity of ‘Dominant Parent’ Sino-Foreign JVs: Nationalist Leadership and Control of Eurasia Aviation Corporation, 1931-1943”
Peter Svik (IHEID, Switzerland & University of Vienna, Austria), “Soviet Bloc Aviation Assistance to the Countries of Global South and why it Failed”

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm CET

Session 3: Airlines and National Cartographies

2:30 pm – 3:50 pm CET

Melina Piglia (University of Buenos Aires, Argentina), “Commercial Aviation, Modernization, Development and Nationalism in an Authoritarian Context: Aerolineas Argentinas During the Dictatorship of 1966-1973”
Phil Tiemeyer (Kansas State University, USA), “Striving to Rewrite the Cartography of Colonialism: Air Jamaica’s Founding and Premature Failure, 1961-1980”

29 June


10:00 am – 11:15 am CET

David Edgerton (King’s College London, UK), “‘The Supremacy of Uruguay’: Thinking with the Periphery as Method”

11:15 am -11:30 am CET

Session 4: Governmentality and Aviation in South Asia

11:30 am – 1:30 pm CET

Joppan George (National University of Singapore, Singapore), “Gujranwala, 14 April 1919: Terror from the Air and Airmindedness”
Aashique Ahmed Iqbal (Krea University, India), “The Aeroplane in the Partition of India and Pakistan”
Waqar H. Zaidi (Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan), “US-British Rivalry and the Reconstruction of Pakistani Aviation during the Cold War, 1945-1960”

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm CET

Session 5: Airplanes and Markets​

2:00 pm – 3:20 pm CET

Marie Huber (Humboldt University of Berlin & University of Marburg, Germany), “The Social Life of Planes: How the First African-owned Jets Shaped Postcolonial Air Transport” 
Tobias Alexander Jopp, Mark Spoerer (both University of Regensburg, Germany), “Civil Aircraft Procurement and Colonial Ties: Which Wide-body Jets were Chosen by Airlines in the Global South, and why?”
Guillaume de Syon (Albright College, USA), “A Colonial Concorde: Relying on past Empires to Build a Supersonic Network”

3:20 pm – 4:00 pm CET

Session 6: Mobility and Territory​

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm CET

Carolin Liebisch-Gümüş (German Historical Institute Washington, USA), “Flight Routes to Asylum?: Refugees from the Global South, Social Class, and the Changing Costs of Air Travel”
John D. Wong (The University of Hong Kong, China), “Formulating Southeast Asia in the Sky: Reconfiguring Nanyang through Commercial Aviation in the Age of Decolonization, 1940s-1960s”
Andreas Greiner (German Historical Institute Washington, USA), “Cleared to Land: Pan American Airways’ Airfields as Imperial ‘Contact Zones’”

6:00 pm – 6:30 pm CET

Final Discussion

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm CET


Jiakai Jeremy Chua

University of Southern California, USA

Jiakai Jeremy Chua is a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California. He is a business and economic historian primarily interested in the history of the Chinese aviation complex and its implications on cross-straits relations, transpacific geopolitics, and the PRC’s anxieties as well as ambitions around its “Infrastructural State.” With a background in the venture capital industry and technical training in GIST, he regularly leverages financial forensics and geospatial data as part of his projects. He is a fellow at the USC Transpacific Studies Center and his current research focuses on Sino-foreign JVs in the aviation industry and the development of frequent flyer programs as proto-cryptocurrencies.

Guillaume de Syon

Albright College, USA

Guillaume de Syon teaches European history and the history of Technology at Albright College in Reading, PA; and is a visiting scholar in history at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. He is the author of Zeppelin! Germany and the Airship 1900-1939 (Johns Hopkins, 2002,) and of Science and Technology in Modern European Life (Greenwood, 2008.) His current research interests include transatlantic mobility as well as the popular understanding of aerospace as reflected in comics and toys.

David Edgerton

King’s College London, UK

David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and Professor of Modern British History at King’s College London. He was the founding Director of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, from 1993 at Imperial College London and since 2013 at King’s College London. His first book, England and the Aeroplane, was published in 1991 and reissued by Penguin in 2013 as England and the Aeroplane: Militarism, Modernity and Machines. His The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History (2007 and 2019) outlined a new approach to the global history of technology. David Edgerton was born in Montevideo and studied at the University of Oxford, and Imperial College London. He is a Fellow of the British Academy.

Joppan George

National University of Singapore, Singapore

I am a historian of modern South Asia with a focus on science, technology, society and environmental history. In 2019, I earned a PhD. in History from Princeton University, before I began a postdoctoral fellowship at IIAS, Leiden University. I am set to start a research fellowship in STS at the Asia Research Institute, NUS, where I will finalize the manuscript of my first monograph. My book traces the transformations in South Asia shaped by aviation as it transitioned from a public spectacle in 1910 to the centrepiece of colonial politics by the end of World War I.

Andreas Greiner

German Historical Institute Washington, USA

Andreas Greiner is a research fellow in Global and Transregional History at the GHI Washington. His research specializes in infrastructure networks, their spatiality and materiality in the long 19th and early 20th centuries. He received his PhD in history from ETH Zurich in 2019 where he also worked as a research assistant at the Chair of Modern History. Before joining the GHI in January 2021, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Max Weber Program at the European University Institute in Florence. His first monograph Human Porterage and Colonial State Formation in German East Africa, 1870–1914: Tensions of Transport (forthcoming 2022) explores the shifting role of caravan transport and human porterage in colonial East Africa, unveiling the resilience of precolonial structures in the era of “high imperialism.” His current research project examines the entangled history of intercontinental airline networks in the interwar period, focusing on Pan American Airways, Imperial Airways, and Air France.

Marie Huber

Humboldt University of Berlin & University of Marburg, Germany

Marie Huber researches the history of development and nation building in Africa from a global history perspective as well as the transnational emergence and circulation of knowledge and the development of economic expectations. In her first book, Marie looked at the Ethiopian example to examine the entangled history of tourism, economic development, and the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in developing countries. Her current DFG-funded project is focusing on the business histories of the west-African airline “Air Afrique” and Ethiopian Airlines. The project connects insights from postcolonial, political history with an economic history approach and is part of the Priority Programme “Experience & Expectation – Historical Foundations of Economic Behaviour”.

Aashique Ahmed Iqbal

Krea University, India

Aashique Ahmed Iqbal is Assistant Professor of History at Krea University in Sri City, India. His research areas include modern South Asian history, aviation history and technology history. He received the Royal History society P.J. Marshall Doctoral Fellowship from the Institute of Historical Research in 2016-2017 and the University of Oxford’s Felix Scholarship in 2013-2016. His first book The Aeroplane and the Making of Modern India is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. An article on Staging Science as Spectacle: Aviation in an Indian State is also forthcoming in a special issue on science diplomacy in The British Journal of the History of Science.

Tobias A. Jopp

University of Regensburg, Germany

Tobias Alexander Jopp, born 1980, studied economics at Universität Münster. PhD in economics received from Universität Hohenheim in spring 2012 with a study on the German Knappschaft insurance. Research assistant (between 2011 and 2012) and assistant professor/habilitation candidate (between 2012 and 2019) in the Department of History at Universität Regensburg. Deputy professorship (in the winter term 2013/14) in the Department of Economics at Universität Hohenheim, Chair of Economic and Social History with Agrarian History. Habilitation completed at Universität Regensburg in fall 2019 with a study on WWI as perceived by the capital market. Currently senior assistant professor in the Department of History at Universität Regensburg, Chair of Economic and Social History, on leave to substitute the chair of economic history in the economics department at Universität Mannheim in the summer and winter terms 2021.

Sabrina Lausen

University of Paderborn, Germany

Dr. Sabrina Lausen is a research assistant at the Chair for Contemporary History at Paderborn University. She holds a Master’s degree (Magister Artium, 2008) and a doctoral degree (Dr. phil, 2016) in New and Contemporary History from Paderborn University with a semester abroad at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland). Further research stays in Poland lasting several weeks followed. Her current postdoctoral project is about the development of the human-machine relationship in civil aviation. The project was supported by short-term fellowships of the German Historical Institute Moscow and the German Historical Institute Washington, D.C.

Carolin Liebisch-Gümüş

German Historical Institute Washington, USA

Carolin Liebisch-Gümüş is a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute Washington. She earned her PhD in History from the Heidelberg University in 2018. Her fields of research include global and international history, Ottoman-Turkish history, the history of migration, and mobility studies. In her current postdoctoral project “History in Limbo,” she explores airports and transit zones as historical sites and investigates their shifting and contested function in the transnational management of global air traffic during the twentieth century. She is also preparing a book on the role of air routes in the history of refugee migration and its international governance from the 1930s to the 1990s.

Maria Lucenti

University of Hamburg, Germany

Maria Lucenti is post-doctoral researcher at the University of Hamburg. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Sciences, Migration studies and intercultural processes at the University of Genoa in co-tutorship with the University of Carthage. She deals with the history of education, children’s literature, the comparative analysis of educational policies, school programs and textbooks and the relationship between identity and education, starting from the variables of gender, cultural and religious diversity. Among her latest publications: Il volo nei manuali scolastici italiani. Dal Ventennio alle esplorazioni spaziali, in F. Caffarena & A. Antoniazzi (Eds.) Il volo educante. Narrazioni alate per l’infanzia, Rivista dell’aeronautica militare.

Jessica Lynne Pearson

Macalester College, USA

Jessica Lynne Pearson is Assistant Professor of European Studies at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. Her research areas include the history of European decolonization from a global perspective. She recently received the Summer Stipend of the National Endowment for the Humanities and an honorable mention for the Alf Andrew Heggoy Book Prize from the French Colonial Historical Society, both in 2019. Her first book on The Colonial Politics of Global Health: France and the United Nations in Postwar Africa was published with Harvard University Press in 2018. A book chapter on Decolonizing the Sky: Air Travel and Global Politics at the End of Empires was recently submitted for review.

Melina Piglia

University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Professor and Doctor in History by the University of Buenos Aires. Piglia is a researcher at the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (Argentina) at the Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanas, at Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, where she also works as an Economic and Social History professor. Since 2020 she is vice president of the International Association of Traffic, Mobility and Transport History (T2M) and, since 2019, member of the editorial committee of the Journal of Transport History. Her doctoral dissertation revolved around road, tourism and relations between the State and civil associations in Argentina in the first half of the twentieth century. Published as a book in 2014 (Autos, rutas y turismo. El Automóvil Club Argentino y el Estado. Buenos Aires: siglo XXI) it received in 2017 the Second Prize of the Argentine National Academy of History (Published works 2014-2015). Since 2014 she has addressed the history of commercial aviation in Argentina, investigating about public policies, business history and cultural issues.

Mark Spoerer

University of Regensburg, Germany

Mark Spoerer is Professor of Economic and Social History at Regensburg University, Germany. His research areas include economic, business and social history with a focus on Germany. He is editor (with Ulrich Pfister, Jan-Otmar Hesse & Nikolaus Wolf) and contributor to a volume on Germany 1871: Nation-state Building and the Road to the Modern Economy to be published in 2021 or 2022. He recently published an article On the political determinants of wide-body aircraft sales, 1974-89 in Applied Economics Letters no. 28 as well as an article titled How much does Airbus’s rise over 1974-89 owe to “political sales”?: A pledge for a statistical approach in Nacelles no. 11, both with Tobias A. Jopp and in 2021.

Peter Svik

Graduate Institute for International Development Studies, Switzerland & University of Vienna, Austria

Peter Svik is Erwin Schrödinger Fellow at the International History Department at the Graduate Institute in Geneva and the Institute for Eastern European History at the University of Vienna, Austria. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the British Academy, the École normale supérieure and the Leibniz Institute for European History, as well as a Guggenheim Fellow at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, Gerda Henkel Fellow at the Historisches Kolleg in Munich and Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Tartu.

Kaori Takada

Otsuma Women’s University, Japan

Kaori Takada is Professor of Comparative Cultures at Otsuma Women’s University in Tokyo, Japan. Her research areas include the history of US diplomacy, World War II, US-UK and US-Japan relations. She recently published a book on The century of aviation: airmindedness, world wars, and the cold war (in Japanese) with Nihon Keizai Hyoronsha in 2020. An article on A Total War for Mapping Japan: US Map-Making of Japanese Targets in World War II (in Japanese) was published in the Otsuma journal of comparative culture 21 in 2020.

Phil Tiemeyer

Kansas State University, USA

Phil Tiemeyer is Associate Professor of History at Kansas State University and author of Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants (2013). His current project, The Confines of Cosmopolitanism: A Postcolonial History of Aviation and Jet Age Culture, examines how civil aviation after World War II increased opportunities for contact between the Global South and the West and offered limited potential to rectify the colonial-era consignment of poorer regions to their peripheral geographical position. The project also focuses on gender and sexuality, chronicling how non-Western flight attendants adopted hybrid iterations of “feminism” and “homosexuality.”

John D. Wong

The University of Hong Kong, China

An associate professor at the University of Hong Kong, John’s research focuses on the flow of people, goods, capital and ideas. With a particular interest in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta area, he explores how such flows connected the region to the Chinese political center in the north as well as their maritime partners in the South China Sea and beyond. Studying the China trade in the context of early-nineteenth-century global exchange, his first monograph, Global Trade in the Nineteenth Century: The House of Houqua and the Canton System (Cambridge University Press, 2016), demonstrates how China trade partners sustained their economic exchange on a global scale long before Western imperialism ushered in the era of globalization in a Eurocentric modern world. In his forthcoming book, Hong Kong Takes Flight (Harvard, 2022), John explores the development of the airline industry in Hong Kong after WWII. His recent publications have appeared in business history journals such as Business History Review and Enterprise & Society, as well as journals with an area studies focus such as the Journal of Asian Studies and Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. In 2022, John will join the editorial board of Business History. He has recently launched with the Hong Kong University Press a new book series Asian Business Histories for which he serves as an editor. John received his BA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Chicago, MBA from Stanford University, and PhD in History from Harvard University. He worked for a number of years in finance and holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Waqar H. Zaidi

Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan

Waqar Zaidi is Associate Professor of history at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. His research focuses on the history of the intersections of technology and international relations. He was recently a 2020-21 Member at the School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and 2021 Verville Fellow at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC. His first monograph, Technological Internationalism and World Order: Aviation, Atomic Energy, and the Search for International Peace, 1920-1950, was published with Cambridge University Press in 2021. He is currently working on a book on the US technical assistance program in civil aviation for Asia during the Cold War.


Marie Huber


Waqar H. Zaidi


Jonathan Krautter