John Boonstra

Position title: Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow (2016-2017)

History, UW-Madison

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A Mandate to Protect: A Mandate to Protect: Imperial Encounters and Affective Ideologies between France and Lebanon, 1900-1930

My dissertation examines the French relationship with Lebanon in the early twentieth century, interrogating how notions of protection shaped French intervention in the Near East. Through a diverse array of archival sources, I explore how affective discourses of French imperial paternalism and prestige were articulated, contested, and reconfigured across social, economic, political, and cultural exchanges. At sites of quotidian encounter, I argue, French and Lebanese men and women—authors and travelers, industrialists and employees, political officials and local inhabitants—reworked the meaning of Franco-Lebanese contact according to idealized premises of civilization and modernity, alongside contextual politics of conduct and reputation. The dissertation aims to provide insight into how the interaction of ideas as well as individuals shaped the imperial formation between France and Lebanon as it transitioned from informal protectorate to post-World War I colonial mandate.

John Boonstra is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at UW-Madison. His work focuses on sites of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European colonial encounters, particularly in ambiguously imperial contexts. Research for his dissertation has been supported by a Social Science Research Council IDRF, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the Mellon Foundation, among other sources. His teaching interests include European gender and colonial history and the modern Mediterranean. He received a BA with High Honors from Swarthmore College in 2007, and an MA in History from UW-Madison in 2012. An article based on previous research recently appeared in the December 2015 issue of German History. He is currently working on his dissertation, “A Mandate to Protect: Imperial Ideologies and Affective Encounters between France and Lebanon, 1900-1930.”