dr. B. (Babs) Boter

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Office Hours: Due to my other teaching and research responsibilities at Utrecht University, University College Utrecht and Emerson College, I usually spend two days a week at the VU. If you would like to meet, it is best to mail or call in order to make an appointment.

Research interest

American history and literature; Travel narratives; Postcolonial literature and theory; Gothic traditions; Gender theory; Representation of racial/ethnic identities in literature and film.


I have taught a variety of courses focusing on issues such as the representation of race, gender, and ethnicity in film and literary texts; the American sixties; in- and exclusionary practices in processes of canon formation; postcolonial literature; gothic traditions and cultural critique.

At the VU I teach the following  courses at the Department of English Language and Culture:

British and American Literature 1780-1900
American Literature 1900 - present
MA Tutorial on Travel Literature
Scriptie colloquium

I also supervise theses that deal with topics such as the literary representations of ethnicity, gender, and identity.


My current research focuses on European/Dutch travelers’ accounts of North America (1870-1950) — in particular the ways in which female and male visitors to the US (Simone de Beauvoir, Aletta Jacobs, Johan Huizinga,  Henriette Kuyper and others) position themselves vis-à-vis America’s marginalized (and gendered, racialized) subjects.

My dissertation, which I defended in 2005 (Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam), is entitled: Fabrication of Selves: Girls of Color Coming of Age.

Other activities

“Telling Tales of the ‘Occident’: European Feminist Constructions of the American Other”
7th European Feminist Research Conference, Utrecht University, June 4-7, 2009.

“Occidental Tourists: Dutch Travellers’ Constructions of the American Other”
Fifth International and Interdisciplinary Alexander von Humboldt Conference,  “Travels between Europe and the Americas”:  Freie Universität Berlin, July 27-31, 2009.

“‘A pathetic papier-maché stage set’: De Beauvoir’s Pursuit of America’s Past and Future”
European Association for American Studies, Biennial Conference, Dublin, Ireland: “Forever Young? The Changing Images of America,” March, 26-29, 2010.

“Of Heavenly Sensations and Physical Examinations: Some European Transatlantic Journeys”
Tales of Transit Conference: Narrative Migrant Spaces in Transatlantic Perspective1830-1954, Antwerp, Belgium, June 9-12, 2010.

“Unspoiled nature, primitive people, and wildlife”: European Travelers Negotiate American Ideas of Nature

Panel “American Nature and World Cultures” at the Conference “Trans-Atlantic Resonances” of the Nordic Association of American Studies, Blindern Campus, May 27-29, 2011, Oslo.

“Stuffing and Showing - A Reading of/on the Museum of Natural History”

Conference “Curiouser & Curiouser: Challenging Conventions & Celebrating the Unusual,” Museum Studies, University of Leicester, March 28-30, 2011, Leicester.

Editorials. memberships, etc.

  • Member Educational Committee (OC) for BA (MTC), Faculty of Arts, VU
  • Member, Netherlands American Studies Association
  • Member, European Association for American Studies 
  • Member, Scientific Committee 7th European Feminist Research Conference, June 4-7, 2009, Utrecht University. Cluster coordinator ”Telling Stories.”
  • Member Educational Committee, Graduate Gender Program, Department of Genderstudies, Utrecht University 
  • Research and production for documentary film ”What’s Up with Gender?”: Introductory visuals for the 7th European Feminist Research Conference, June 4-7, 2009, Utrecht University (18 min.).