Trudy Bolter ( née Gertrude Nina Hoffmann)
Fulbright PhD student, 1966
Independent research, teaching at l’Institut Catholique de Paris
Emerita Professor, Institut d’études politiques de Bordeaux (Bordeaux University)
As a doctoral researcher from Columbia University, I had the honor of being a Fulbright Scholar in Paris from 1966 to 1967 – my subject was contemporary French drama. My remarkable advisor was a member of the Académie française, M. Marcel Brion, who helped me to better conceptualize in French. With a card from the Centre français du théâtre I was able to attend Paris theatre performances several times a week for something like one franc a time. I learned a lot about French culture and France, or at least Paris. As a Fulbright Lectrice teaching advanced level English and some American literature at the Institut Catholique in Paris from 1967 to 1968, I learned how to use the English language for teaching French students, and began for the first time to intensively study my own American culture.
I have lived in Bordeaux since 1969 when I married a British national established here.
I have never requested or passively acquired any other nationality than my native American. Obtaining a permanent position in a provincial French university proved difficult until changes in French law made it more welcoming to foreigners. With a French doctorate in comparative literature, and an Habilitation à diriger les recherches in American civilisation and cinema, and several authored or edited books, I was appointed full professor in the Institut d’études politiques de Bordeaux, a most stimulating environment, which is part of Bordeaux University.
I was the first female professeur des universités at Sciences Po Bordeaux.
I have taught English-language undergraduate seminars on American culture générale, lectured in English on American history, culture and civilisation, and, in the Film Department of the University, taught graduate courses in French on American cinema.
As Emerita Professor, I have continued writing about film in both French and English, and, in French, doing film presentations and lectures.
I am grateful for the Fulbright years that helped me to grow as a scholar, a teacher, and a Francophile, but also as an American. My career, originally planned to explicate French drama to Americans, changed direction, and I have become a commentator on American art and culture to my dear friends, the French people among whom we live.