Call for contributors, edited volume: 'Exploring the Human Costs of Flight: A History of Aviation, Trauma and Emotions'

Jason Crouthamel's picture
Call for Publications
July 1, 2023
Michigan, United States
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, European History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Psychology, American History / Studies

Call for contributors to planned collected volume

Title of collected volume:

Exploring the Human Costs of Flight: A History of Aviation, Trauma and Emotions


The history of aviation has long been dominated by scholarship focusing on technology, modernity and nationalism in diverse settings of the twentieth century, especially the two world wars and the Cold War. In particular, connections between the experience of flight, national identity and ideals, and political ideologies (in particular the rise of fascism) have been at the center of studies on pilots and airplanes. In short, scholars have emphasized the technological and ideological foundations of airpower while largely forgoing the human consequences and costs of aerial combat.

We seek to build on existing scholarship and move the conversation on aviation history forward by producing a collected volume that incorporates new approaches inspired by trauma studies, gender studies, the history of memory and other fields related to social and cultural history.  In particular, we aim to highlight the complex psychological experiences of pilots, and we plan to explore a wide range of themes, which include:

  • Psychological trauma (definitions, treatment, narration, language) and the experience of flight
  • The impact of flight on conceptions of gender ideals and norms.
  • The emotional experience of flight.
  • Encounters with violence, the act of killing, and language for processing these experiences
  • Memory, identity construction (in terms of gender, ethnicity, and other categories) and reconstruction of self in the wake of combat flying experiences.
  • The language and narratives used to convey the experience of flying, especially through memoirs, diaries and letters, which offer a glimpse into the ‘intimate’ world of pilots’ experiences.
  • Religious, spiritual, ‘superstitious’ beliefs and language used to narrate flying experiences
  • The anthropomorphization of aviation technology
  • Blurred boundaries between men (and women) and machines, narratives that explore how individuals perceive, or even blend, visions of machinery and bodies.
  • Sexuality, flight and experience.

Other related topics are most welcome. This volume will be trans-national and comparative in scope, as it examines diverse experiences across the 20th and 21st centuries.

We have several colleagues who specialize in a variety of national contexts on board to contribute chapters.  We plan to organize a workshop in July 2023 to share and exchange ideas about the volume, and we aim to set a deadline for completed drafts of chapters in 2024, when we’ll submit a proposal for the collected volume to a university or academic press.

 If you are interested in contributing a chapter to the volume, please send an abstract (300 words) of your planned chapter to by July 1, 2023, and we will be delighted to review and consider your proposal.  Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

              Thank you for your interest.


Contact Info: 

Jason Crouthamel

Department of History

Grand Valley State University

1 Campus Drive, MAK D-1-160

Allendale, MI 49401

Contact Email: