Online Panel Discussion - Connecting the World?: Global Air Travel between Decolonization and the Cold War

Kris Alexanderson's picture
January 8, 2021
United States
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, European History / Studies, Russian or Soviet History / Studies, World History / Studies

Connecting the World?: Global Air Travel between Decolonization and the Cold War

January 8, 2021, at 9:30-11:30am EST

Online Panel Discussion hosted by the International Commission for the History of Travel and Tourism

This panel explores how aviation forged global connections across the fault lines of the Cold War and decolonization. Refocusing attention on the Global South and the socialist bloc, the presenters examine how airlines allowed many actors--from diplomats to tourists--to experience and shape the broader geopolitical divides of the postwar era. When we study the history of the world after 1945, historians tend to emphasize emerging divisions: between former colonizers and former colonies, between East and West, and between the First, Second, and Third Worlds. Even scholarship on the history of postwar internationalism has tended to focus more on the failure of international organizations to bring the world together rather than their successes. This panel seeks to reorient our focus towards the connections that were forged in the context of decolonization and the Cold War, exploring the development of new global networks and solidarities through the lens of air travel.

Technology, infrastructure, and (non)convertible currencies we argue, played a crucial role in shaping the landscape of global politics and culture after 1945. By focusing on the ways that air travel united the globe, these papers collectively offer a model for moving beyond some of the most entrenched divisions in our study of the second half of the twentieth century. Each paper on this panel takes a global approach, exploring the way that airplanes facilitated the development of networks among artists, diplomats, businessmen, and tourists as they made their way around the world in an era of increasing political polarization. Collectively, these papers speak to the ways that the global connections these travelers forged shaped life on the ground in a range of geographic spaces. Please join us!


Steven Harris (University of Mary Washington)

Jessica Pearson (Macalester College)

Elena Razlogova (Concordia University)


Eric G.E. Zuelow (University of New England)


Kris Alexanderson (University of the Pacific)

To attend via zoom, follow the link:

This event is free and open to the public.