PROPOSED SESSION Seeks Papers for the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) Annual Meeting to be held in Washington, D.C. from October 17-21, 2007.
Deadline for submitting paper proposals for this panel: March 5, 2007
Session Title: "'Aviation History in the Wider View' Revisited...An Assessment of the Field."
Nearly two decades ago, James R. Hansen published a review essay titled "Aviation History in the Wider View" in the July 1989 issue of Technology and Culture. In it, he noted that most aviation historians up to that point had focused on airplanes or pilots, and to a lesser extent on designers and entrepreneurs. Hansen argued that as a result of this apparent cult-like fascination with hardware and heroes, "aviation history has fallen behind other fields of history (including space history), wherein broadly synthetic, contextual, and interdisciplinary studies explore the meaning of a particular field of history in terms of what it means to others." (643)
Since then, a small but increasing number of scholars – mostly historians – have started asking questions and addressing subjects and issues beyond the bounds of what they call "traditional aviation history." The recent Centennial of Flight celebration in 2003 provided added impetus for authors and publishers alike, and in addition to the virtual torrent of glossy, richly-illustrated "coffee table books" and other traditional narratives written for enthusiasts, there were a number of works regarding aviation's broader social, cultural, economic, and political implications. Still, the fact that practitioners of this "new aviation history" still feel obliged to announce – and not in an obscure footnote, but rather in the main text of their Introductions – that they are responding directly to Hansen's 1989 call-to-action, indicates that perhaps this hoped-for intellectual revolution has not yet taken hold....
Panel organizers Jeremy R. Kinney (Curator, Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum) and Alan D. Meyer (Ph.D. candidate, University of Delaware) will address Hansen's original review essay with an emphasis on historiographical developments in the field since 1989.
Professor Hansen has kindly agreed to serve as one of the panel's two commentators. The second commentator will be an accomplished scholar who is an outsider to the field of aviation history.
We are seeking two additional papers to complete this panel. Potential topics include but are not limited to:
(1) A perspective on how disciplines outside the field have influenced the writing of aviation history (histories of gender, race, class and identity; organizational and business history; etc.).
(2) A focus on a specific subfield of aviation history such as politics, military, etc.
(3) A discussion of the "pre-history" of aviation history in SHOT (an evaluation of the articles appearing in Technology and Culture up to 1980).
(4) An essay or think-piece regarding the crucial "so what?" question – that is, "Why aviation history matters" (or "Does aviation history matter?").
Our deadline for accepting applications to join this panel is midnight on March 5, 2007. If you are interested in joining this panel, please:
(1) Provide a brief abstract or description of your proposed paper, including the title, topic, argument(s), and evidence used.
(2) Provide an abbreviated C.V.
(3) If selected as a panel member, you may have to further refine your abstract and C.V. to conform with SHOT program committee requirements. Our final deadline for submitting the complete panel proposal is March 16, 2007.
(1) Conference participants are allowed to present a paper in one session and serve as the commentator or chair for another session. You may not, however, submit more than one paper proposal.
(2) SHOT has waived the customary rule against presenting at two consecutive domestics meetings. Therefore, scholars who presented last fall in Las Vegas are still eligible to present this fall in Washington, D.C.
(3) Remember that this year's theme is "Looking Back." To quote SHOT's 2007 Call For Papers, "...papers that address the future of the Society should be held for the 2008 meeting in Lisbon."
(4) To view full details for the conference, please see http://www.historyoftechnology.org/annualmtg/2007SHOT_cfp.pd
Jeremy R. Kinney
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Phone: 202-633-2640 Email: email@example.com
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