Patrick De Oliveira
(Residential Fellow, 2017-18)
Patrick De Oliveira
The Ascending Republic: Aeronautical Culture in France, 1860-1908
Patrick Luiz Sullivan De Oliveira is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Princeton University. He is finishing up his dissertation, titled “The Ascending Republic: Aeronautical Culture in France, 1860-1914,” which traces how the French navigated the interstices of politics, culture, and technology to rehabilitate the balloon (an artifact that became discredited soon after its invention in 1783). In doing so, French civil society cultivated a thriving form of airmindedness decades before the advent of the airplane — one that encompassed such distinct cultural strands as sacrificial patriotism, aristocratic modernity, and technological cosmopolitanism. Patrick’s dissertation shows how at the turn of the century aeronautics was, to a degree scholars have not previously suspected, a central element to France’s self-understanding as a modern nation. Ballooning became a patriotic endeavor that people from all political stripes could get behind, and helped shape the image of France as a nation in which advanced technology, quality, and style came together in a single package. His dissertation incorporates and contributes 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.
Patrick was a Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in 2015-2016, and spent the 2014-2015 academic year in Paris as a Doctoral Exchange Fellow at Sciences Po. While in Kansas City, he will be conducting research at the Linda Hall Library’s rich collection of rare aeronautical volumes, which includes more than one hundred pamphlets, ballooning narratives, and aeronautical periodicals spanning the long nineteenth century.