After studying jazz performance as an undergraduate at the University of North Texas, Michael Hankins obtained his master’s in history in 2013 after completing his thesis, “The Phantom Menace: The F-4 in Air-to-Air Combat in the Vietnam War” under the direction of Robert Citino.
Hankins began his doctoral degree at Kansas State University in 2013 and is currently writing his dissertation, which seeks to define the relationship between the technological development of the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Falcon and the shifting institutional culture of the U. S. Air Force in the years during and after the Vietnam War. This work contributes to a fuller understanding of how expensive, controversial military aviation projects develop over time, influencing how war is fought and conceived of by warfighters.
Hankins’ research explores Public History as well. His work has explored how museum spaces and artifacts can connect the public with past in tangible, useable ways. He has also published work on military history in the Roman Republic. He has been invited to speak at the Flint Hills Discovery Center in partnership with the Beach Museum of Art in Manhattan, Kansas, and the Topeka Public Library in cooperation with the Topeka Air Combat Museum. Hankins also serves as the President of the K-State History Graduate Student Organization and teaches courses on World History, the history of comic books, and the history of American Airpower.