My dissertation, "The Ascending Republic: Aeronautical Culture in France, 1860-1914", explores how France, through its relationship to ballooning, became the center of pre-WWI aeronautics. By tracing how aeronauts navigated the interstices of politics, culture, and technology to rehabilitate the balloon (an artifact that became discredited soon after its invention in 1783), I show how French civil society cultivated a thriving form of early airmindedness decades before the advent of the airplane—one that encompassed such distinct cultural strands as sacrificial patriotism, aristocratic modernity, and technological cosmopolitanism. I argue that ballooning became a patriotic endeavor that people from all political stripes could get behind, and was a key practice in helping shape the image of France as a nation in which  technology, quality, and style came together in a single package. In developing my argument I incorporate from and contribute to a variety of fields—from the history of science and technology to celebrity studies and the history of civil society in Third Republic France.

On December 6th, 2017, I successfully defended my dissertation. If you would like a copy of it, don't hesitate to get in contact, and I will provide you with the password to download the file.

Download the dissertation.

   L'Aéronaute,    1863       (Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris).

L'Aéronaute, 1863 (Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris).