As a crucial building block of the European and global transport system as well as economy, the aviation has attracted considerable interest among practitioners and scholars. Two issues seem to have dominated political and academic debates ever since 1889, when the first international congress on aeronautics took place in Paris. The first is the question of “open skies”, i.e. whether and under what conditions the aircraft (independent of their ownership or headquarters location) should be allowed to freely operate from any airport in country A to any airport in country B. The second issue, the creation of a “single sky”, is more technology-driven. Initially, it concerned such questions as the nationality of aircraft, airworthiness, and air safety regulations. Since the late 1950s, it also involved the formation of a common civil-military technological system of air navigation and air traffic control in response to the booming air travel of the “jet age.”
In large territorial states like the United States, the “single sky” issue has been of interest only to civilian and military aviation experts. In Europe, however, it has been intimately linked to issue of sovereignty, as its full implementation requires states to cede regulatory control to a supranational authority. Consequently, although being able to overcome national particularism in case of common aircraft production, a single sky over Europe is not reality even sixty years after foundation of Eurocontrol in 1960.
Development of aviation in Europe is thus clearly marked by the dynamics of centripetal and centrifugal forces that stand in mutual opposition and work simultaneously. It is this push-and-pull dynamics which the workshop to be held at the Department of East European History of the University in Vienna on September 28-30, 2022 seek to address. Special attention will also be paid to various actor and networks that propelled the unification process on the one hand and tamed it on the other. What was the role of governments, international organizations (League of Nations and later NATO, Eurocontrol or European Union), private companies and various policy entrepreneurs? How did their attitudes and composition change over time? Furthermore, in order to draw a comparison, can similar patterns be seen in other areas in which the Europeanization is progressing very slowly if not faltering, for example, the creation of European army for example?
The workshop thus aims to bring together aviation historians with historians working on other aspects of European cooperation since the late nineteenth century. The proposals from scholars from other disciplines such as law, economics, political science and international relations, geography or sociology are also particularly welcome.
The proposals accompanied by brief CVs, each no longer than 300 words, should be sent to email@example.com by May 22, 2022. Selected participants will be notified by June 1, 2022. The workshop will be held in a hybrid format. It is organized within the framework of Erwin Schrödinger program funded by the FWF Austrian Science Fund, grant no. J 4454-G.
The workshop also aims to commemorate the legacy of the late Alan S. Dobson who passed away earlier this month and with whom the convener initially desired to co-organize the event.
A conference volume is under consideration with well-known academic publisher. Final versions of selected papers should be submitted by early 2023.
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
Department of East European History, University of Vienna