University of Wisconsin–Madison

John Boonstra

Lecturer: History 229 - Modern Mediterranean History, 1798 to the Present

Advisors: Mary Lou Roberts and Laird Boswell

Office: 227 University Club
Mailbox: 5269 Mosse Humanities
Phone: 608.262.3855
Office Hours: TBA

John Boonstra


My work explores the role of unique sites of colonial contact in shaping ideologies of gender and empire. My dissertation examines the formation of an imperial relationship between France and Lebanon in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, investigating how a range of encounters between writers and travelers, industrialists and workers, activists and administrators, and everyday French and Lebanese men and women informed the transition from informal protectorate to formal colonial regime.


M.A., University of Wisconsin
B.A., Swarthmore College


  • Modern European, France, Gender and Colonialism

MA Title

  • “Women’s Honor and the ‘Black Shame’: Envisioning Colored Frenchmen and Respectable Comportment in the Occupied Rhineland”

Working Dissertation Title

  • “A Mandate to Protect: Imperial Encounters and Affective Ideologies between France and Lebanon, 1860-1931”

Selected Publications

  • “Scandal in Fin-de-Siècle Beirut: Gender, Morality, and Imperial Prestige Between France and Lebanon,” Journal of World History 28 no. 4 (Dec. 2017), Special Issue: Gender and Empire
  • “Women’s Honour and the Black Shame: Coloured Frenchmen and Respectable Comportment in the Post-World War I Occupied Rhineland,” German History 33, no. 4 (Dec. 2015), 546-569.


  • Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellowship, Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship, Social Science Research Council
  • Fulbright Doctoral Research Grant, France
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, Arabic

Professional Affiliations

  • American Historical Association
  • Society for French Historical Studies
  • Western Society for French History
  • Middle East Studies Association
  • French Colonial Historical Society

Courses Taught as TA

  • History 120 – Modern Europe and the World
  • History 392 – Women and Gender in Modern Europe

Courses Taught as Instructor

  • History 229 – Modern Mediterranean History, 1798 to the Present