Dr Gemma Betros

BA in French and History (Hons), University of Queensland. M.Phil and PhD in History, University of Cambridge
Honorary Lecturer, School of History
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • European History (Excl. British, Classical Greek And Roman) 210307
  • Religion And Society 220405
  • Culture, Gender, Sexuality 200205
  • Literature In French 200511
  • Biography 210304

Research interests

  • The history of convents and women religious (nuns)
  • The history of Paris and its monuments
  • The French Revolution
  • Napoleon and Napoleonic Europe
  • Diaries and letter-writing in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century France 
  • Theatre, literature, and translation in eighteenth-and nineteenth-century France and Europe
  • The novelist Adélaïde de Souza (1761-1836)
  • Religion in early modern and modern Europe 
  • Gender and women's history 


Gemma Betros completed a Bachelor of Arts in French and History (First-Class Honours) at the University of Queensland, and an M.Phil and PhD in History at the University of Cambridge (Peterhouse). Funding included a Commonwealth Scholarship, a Peterhouse Research Studentship, and a Lightfoot Scholarship. She has held academic posts at the University of Leeds (2007-08), the Harvard Divinity School (2012-13), and The Australian National University (2009-20), where she was awarded the 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Education. Her research focuses on the intersection of religion, gender, and politics in early modern and modern France. Her work has been recognised by the Cushwa Center (University of Notre Dame, USA), the Australian Society of Authors, and PlayLab Theatre (Brisbane).  She has written for the Austrailan Book Review and in 2021-22 received an Emerging Critics' Fellowship from the Sydney Review of Books.

Researcher's projects

Publications in progress

'Monarchy, memory, and the Chapelle expiatoire: coming to terms with France’s past’, in David Andress (ed.), Routledge Handbook of French History (submitted, expected publication 2023).

'The women of La Trappe in revolutionary Europe’, in Cormac Begadon, Gemma Betros and Sarah Barthélemy (eds), Female religious and the French Revolution: identity, memory, and history (expected publication 2023).

Cormac Begadon, Gemma Betros and Sarah Barthélemy (eds), Female religious and the French Revolution: identity, memory, and history (expected publication 2023).

'Paris's convents', in Kory Olson, Amanda Vincent, and Erin-Marie Legacey (eds), Routledge Handbook on the History of Paris from 1789 to the Present (expected publication 2023). 


2022 conference papers

'Religion in the life of a young woman in late eighteenth-century Paris', Women and Religion in Eighteenth-Century France symposium, Queen Mary, University of London, 24 June 2022. 

'Mobility, gender, and the religious life: the voyage of the “Trappistines” across revolutionary Europe’, ANZAMEMS Conference, University of Western Australia, 27 June 2022. 


Research networks

Co-founder of the International Scholars of the History of Women Religious Association (ISHWRA), affiliated to the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University (UK) (Twitter: @ISHWR_A) 

Co-founder of the Australasian Scholars of the History of Women Religious Association (ASHWRA)

Past student projects

  • Thomas Lalevée, 'From perfectibility to progress: the search for a science of society in France, 1750-1850’ (completed 2022) [panel member]
  • Jennifer Clynk, 'Quaker drapers in mid-nineteenth century Hobart, Tasmania' (completed 2014) [panel member]

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Updated:  07 February 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers