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Airborne Dreams


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Table of Contents

Preface: Conducting Research the "Pan Am Way" vii
Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction: The Pan Am Skies as Frontier of Jet-Age Mobility 1
1. 1955: Postwar America, Things Japanese, and "One-World" Tourism 17
2. "The World's Most Experienced Airline": Pan Am as Global, National, and Personal Icon 33
3. "Nisei" Sterwardesses: Dreams of Pan American's Girl-Next-Door Frontier 57
4. Airborne Class Act: Service and Prestige as Racialized Spectacle 93
5. Becoming Pan Am: Bodies, Emotions, Subjectivity 129
6. Frontier Dreams: Race, Gender, Class, Cosmopolitan Mobilities 161
Appendix: Chronology of Pan American World Airways, 1927-1991 183
Notes 187
Bibliography 205
Index 221

Promotional Information

An account of Pan Am's "Nisei" stewardess program (1955-1972), through which the airline hired Japanese American (and later other Asian and Asian American) stewardesses, ostensibly for their Asian-language skills

About the Author

Christine R. Yano is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Hawai`i, Manoa. She is the author of Crowning the Nice Girl: Gender, Ethnicity, and Culture in Hawai`i's Cherry Blossom Festival and Tears of Longing: Nostalgia and the Nation in Japanese Popular Song.


"Airborne Dreams draws big, compelling themes from the experiences of a small group of women who put a distinctive spin on the stewardess mystique. Christine R. Yano deftly explores the gender and racial stereotypes, complex class relations, and corporate ambitions that prompted Pan Am's hiring of Japanese American flight attendants at the height of the airline's cultural and commercial dominance. Equally important, we get a rich portrait of the opportunities and pleasures that her subjects found in their work and the ways that they transcended the very stereotypes they represented." Kathleen M. Barry, author of Femininity in Flight: A History of Flight Attendants "Airborne Dreams is a fascinating account of Pan Am's 'Nisei' program and the ways that it embodied interrelated conceptions of post-war America, gender and racial politics, globalism, and cosmopolitanism. By combining sources ranging from airline archives to interviews with many former Pan Am stewardesses, Christine R. Yano has given us a refreshingly novel understanding of corporate history and its relation to key social and cultural issues." Laura Miller, author of Beauty Up: Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics

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