Dr Ann-Sophie Schopfel

ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Global And World History 430310
  • History Of Empires, Imperialism And Colonialism 430313
  • International Humanitarian And Human Rights Law 480307
  • Postcolonial Studies 470213
  • Transnational History 430323
  • History Of The Pacific 430315
  • Literature In French 470516


I have been a Lecturer at the Australian National University since July 2023. I have previously taught the history of international relations at the Paris Institute of Political Studies from 2012 to 2022, as well as at Harvard University and the University of Hitotsubashi in Tokyo. I received the Jean-Baptiste Duroselle Prize for my work in the history of international relations. I have also been awarded the Sciences Po Teaching Prize. My work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. My first monograph, The Saigon Trials: A New History of International Law, will be published at Cambridge University Press in 2024. At the Australian National University, I intend to commence my second monograph, National Liberation in the Atomic Francophone Pacific, and produce a film documentary to complement the book.


Researcher's projects

My academic interests are focused on studying and teaching Global and Imperial France and the Asia-Pacific region. Specifically, my research delves into the intricacies of decolonization, the Cold War, international law, and migration. Through my work, I strive to deepen our understanding of these complex historical and contemporary issues while contributing to the broader academic discourse surrounding them.

My first book The Saigon Trials: A New History of International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2024) thoroughly explores the Saigon trials that took place during the decline of the French empire. Its meticulous analysis effectively highlights the far-reaching impact of colonial legal republicanism, decolonization, and international law on the empire's eventual downfall. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the events that unfolded and sheds light on the profound significance of this historical moment in shaping the global history of the twentieth century. Drawing across a violent tableau, from the heights of total war in Asia to the brutal and bloody wars of decolonization stretching from Vietnam to the Kasbah in Algiers, the book argues that French colonial lawmakers first experimented with, then adapted and perfected the legal definition of victims and opponents at the Saigon trials into an anti-communist framework. The book comprehensively analyzes the evolution of the definition of war crimes from the Nuremberg Trial to Paris, Tokyo, and Saigon. It delves into the intricate interplay between global, imperial, and national laws, highlighting how lawmakers have navigated the universal concepts of human rights and the laws of warfare to serve their colonial superiors' interests. The study's findings underscore the complex nature of legal frameworks and their implementation across diverse and multifaceted environments.

My current project involves exploring the literary, political, and legal narratives surrounding anti-colonialism, national liberation, transnational protest, and global radicalism in New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and Wallis and Futuna. My objective is to address three key questions that span across the fields of transnational history and history of the Pacific, postcolonial studies, international law, and French studies. These questions seek to uncover how national liberation in the Francophone Pacific was negotiated during the Atomic Age, and for whom. Additionally, I aim to investigate how Francophone activists in the Pacific engaged with and interpreted global ideas, such as the anti-colonial struggle in Vietnam, the Black Power movement in America, and student-worker politics in France. Lastly, I will be exploring how the process of resistance and nation-formation in the Francophone Pacific was influenced by contemporaneous decolonization movements in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and how it was shaped by Cold War rivalries between the USA, USSR, and China.


Available student projects

I am available to supervise doctoral, masters, and honors projects in French and Francophone studies, global and international history, the history of the Pacific, the history of international law, political sciences, and cultural studies. Specifically, my expertise in Francophone studies includes decolonization, postcolonial studies, social movements, and transnational/comparative discourses.


Here are a few previous topics of supervision:

'The duty to remember the Indochina War.' 

'The importance of upholding a francophone identity: The French language and its function in integrating immigrants into France.'

'The challenge of addressing gender equality in immigrant education in France.'

'The impact of popular education on citizenship in France.'

'The role of schools in shaping post-modern French society and democratization.'


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Updated:  25 April 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers