Dr Annabelle Doherty

PhD (The University of Sydney), BA French Hons (The University of London)
Honorary/Sessional Lecturer in French & Film Studies
College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • French Language 200306
  • Literature In French 200511
  • Cinema Studies 190201
  • Film And Television 190204
  • Historical Studies 2103

Research interests

French cinema (especially heritage cinema and historical film); Australian heritage and historical film; British heritage and historical film; adaptation; auteurism; stardom studies; 19th-21st century French literature; French history; national identity and transnationalism in cinema; the artist's biopic; French visual arts; French language and culture; cultural memory; film and memory; the corporeal effect and embodiment theory.


I joined the Australian National University in October 2016, following completion of my doctorate, to pursue further research into heritage cinema and historical film, and have been teaching as a Sessional Lecturer in French Studies since February 2017.  I am currently teaching French at the ANU Centre for Continuing Education.  I have been reworking my original thesis 'Living the Past through French Heritage Film: Historical Thinking and Cinematic Cultural Memory' for publication as a book and a series of journal articles.  I completed my PhD in French Studies in September 2016 at the University of Sydney, where I was an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) recipient.  I undertook a BA French (Hons) at the University of London, where I achieved First Class Honours in 2007, specialising in French Cinema and Literature. During my tertiary studies, I often travelled to France for research.  In 2014, I was awarded a doctoral travel grant to undertake archival research at the Paris Cinémathèque and the Bibliothèque nationale de France.  In addition to teaching at ANU, I have taught French language, cinema, literature, history and culture at the University of Sydney and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


Researcher's projects

At present I am pursuing further research at ANU into the genre of heritage cinema, a contemporary form of historical film, costume and period drama, with the primary aim of the publication of a book from my doctoral thesis.  This monograph on Cultural Memory of the Great War through French Heritage and Historical Cinema will draw from my original research, but extends the case studies of French films covered in my PhD to include transnational heritage and historical films.  My book will investigate the concept of cultural memory in relation to the embodiment effect.  It will examine topics of auteurism and stardom, considering notions of historical realism, fidelity and the authenticated effect.

My work seeks to challenge traditional approaches towards heritage cinema, which typically neglect or dismiss the genre as representing mere costume films of fantasy, “romance and adventure”, offering only “history as spectacle” for spectators’ entertainment and “visual pleasure” in a surface and trivial reconstitution of the past.  I argue instead that heritage cinema promotes “historical thinking” by collective audiences, encouraging a deep understanding of the past by spectators that actively engages with on-going historical discourse.  My study upholds the genre of heritage film as being equally historically significant and thought provoking as precursor or parallel genres traditionally designated as “serious historical film” such as the “New History film” or “history film”.  My research strives furthermore to extend beyond definitions of heritage cinema as providing simply a reflection of present sociocultural, political and economic contexts in cultural memory and as representing a mere celebratory cinematic vehicle of “nostalgia”.

Available student projects

I currently teach introductory to intermediate levels of French at the ANU Centre for Continuing Education. Prior to this I taught introductory French (FREN1003 and FREN1004) with the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at ANU. I have also taught introductory to advanced levels of French at the University of Sydney and with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.



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Updated:  02 December 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers