This seminar documents Australians’ interactions with local French people and French institutions on the former Western Front through their commemoration of Australia’s participation in the First World War. It examines the assembly, projection, and performance of Australia’s national identity overseas from 1918 to 2018. It explores how the French remember ANZAC, or, rather, how they don’t, and how their alleged remembrance is staged by Australian agents of memory for different agendas. This seminar tells the century-long story of French-Australian relations through previously unexplored and untranslated French primary materials and contributes to renewing our understanding of Australian war commemoration. It highlights some of the key characteristics of official Australian commemorative practices overseas: overplaying Australia’s military role in the First World War, excluding allied nations in the narration of Australia’s contribution to the war, and longing for Australia’s military engagements to be remembered by others.
School of History Seminar Series
Dr Romain Fathi is a Lecturer in History at Flinders University in Adelaide, and an Affiliated Researcher at the Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po in Paris. His research interests are concerned with war commemorations, sorties de guerre, and Australian identity. Dr Fathi publishes in French and in English, and has taught at several universities, including Sciences Po in France, Yale in the United States, and the University of Queensland and Flinders University in Australia. His latest book, Our Corner of the Somme, was published with Cambridge University Press in 2019.