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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 have 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.  My PhD, which examined the suppression of convents in Paris during the French Revolution, reflects my interest in the relationship between religion, the state, and society.

Current research projects

My research focuses on the French Revolution but also encompasses eighteenth-century and Napoleonic France. Current projects include the publication of Sacred Liberty: the suppression of convents in revolutionary and Napoleonic Paris’, the book adaptation of my PhD, and a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte for Routledge’s ‘Historical Biographies’ series.

Other research interests include Parisian theatre during the French Revolution, the work of the novelist Adélaïde de Souza, and the Commission des Secours, a royal commission established in France in 1727 to consider the future of female religious communities. I have also recently begun a new project on prison life in Paris during the Terror.

I welcome enquiries from prospective research students with interests in any aspect of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century France. 

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: 26 July 2013/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School / Page Contact:  Web Publisher