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The Australian National University

Dr Gemma Betros

Lecturer in European History


BA Hons (Queensland)
M.Phil and PhD (Cambridge)

Biography and interests

I hold a BA with majors in History and French from the University of Queensland where I also did my Honours year in History. I completed my postgraduate studies at the University of Cambridge as a student of Peterhouse, graduating with an M.Phil in European Studies and a PhD in History in 2007. 

My research focuses on gender and religion in revolutionary and Napoleonic France.

Current research projects

Sacred Liberty: the nuns of Paris, the French Revolution, and Napoleon. This is the book adaptation of my PhD on the closure of convents in Paris during the French Revolution.

Napoleon Bonaparte. A biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, contracted to Routledge for its 'Historical Biographies' series.

Conversion, toleration, and the Parisian convent of the Nouvelles catholiques, 1704-92. This project examines the Parisian convent of the 'Nouvelles catholiques' or 'New Catholics' and its efforts to convert Protestant girls and women to Catholicism against a background of growing religious tolerance in Enlightenment Europe.

Catholicism and the novels Adélaïde de Souza. This project examines representations of religion and gender in the work of French author Adélaïde de Souza and explores her transnational audience in the wake of the French Revolution.

Courses taught

EURO1004: Europe in the Modern Era (1450-1914)

HIST2223: The French Revolution and Napoleon

HIST2228: Enlightenment Worlds

Selected publications

‘Liberty, citizenship, and the suppression of female religious communities in France, 1789-90’, Women’s History Review, vol. 18, no. 2 (2009), pp. 311-36. Awarded the 2006 Clare Evans National Essay Prize by the Women’s History Network.

‘Napoleon and the revival of female religious communities’ in Jeremy Gregory and Kate Cooper (eds), Revival and Resurgence in Christian History (Studies in Church History), vol. 44 (2008), pp.185-95.  Awarded the Ecclesiastical History Society’s 2007 Michael Kennedy Prize.

Selected research fellowships

2012 Ernst Keller European Travelling Fellowship (Australian Academy of the Humanities)

Chawton House Library Visiting Fellowship (June 2012)

Research Associate and Visiting Assistant Professor, Women's Studies in Religion Program, Harvard Divinity School (August 2012-June 2013)


Updated: 22 October 2015/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School / Page Contact:  Web Publisher