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
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 the Napoleonic Empire
  • 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), funded by 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. Recent awards include a Mother Theodore Guerin Research Travel Grant from the Cushwa Center (University of Notre Dame, USA) and a mentorship from the Australian Society of Authors. She was a 2021 Emerging Critic with the Sydney Review of Books and in 2022 was awarded a place on Playlab Theatre's Transmission program. 

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 early 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)

Current student projects

  • Thomas Lalevée, 'From perfectibility to progress: the search for a science of society in France, 1750-1850’ (completed 2022) [panel member]

Past student projects

  • Jennifer Clynk, 'Quaker drapers in mid-nineteenth century Hobart, Tasmania' (completed 2014) [panel member]
  • David Roth, ‘Life, Death and Release at Callan Park, 1878-1920’ (completed 2020) [panel member]

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Updated:  02 October 2022 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers