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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Felipe Cruz

M.A. in History, University of Texas-Austin

PhD Candidate
Felipe Cruz



Felipe Fernandes Cruz was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. He has now lived in the United States for 15 years, and is currently based out of Austin, TX where he is finishing a PhD in History. His dissertation, titled “Flight of the Steel Toucans: Aviation and the Settlement of Brazil’s Frontiers” explores the use of aviation and cartography in the exploration and colonization of Brazil’s vast and inaccessible frontiers. 

He is a co-founder of The Appendix - a journal of experimental and narrative history, where he currently serves as Managing Editor. The Appendix is a digital project launched in 2012 seeking to bridge the gap between popular and academic audiences with experimental historical writing & innovative digital publishing (see more at He is also the writer and co-director of a newly released historical documentary titled The Balloonists: Brazil's Underground Folk Artists. Based on his MA thesis, it explores the world of the popular, yet illegal, practice of designing and launching fire balloons as a folk art form.

Felipe has been awarded several fellowships for his dissertation research, such as an IDRF grant from the Social Sciences Research Council, a history of science fellowship from the American Meteorological Society, a visiting fellowship at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum and also at the Linda Hall Library of Science and Engineering. He is also the recipient of the Kranzberg prize for dissertation research from the Society for the History of Technology, and of the Edward H. Moseley Award from the Southeatern Council of Latin American Studies.


My dissertation focuses on the history of aviation in Brazil, its cultural manifestations (airmindedness) and its impact on state building and frontier expansion. More broadly, I am interested in the transnational history of technology, the history of meteorologic sciences, and environmental history (especially water management in Brazil).
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