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Romain Fathi

Chercheur associé

Chercheur associé

Dr Romain Fathi is a Senior Lecturer at Flinders University and a Chercheur Associé at the Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po in Paris. He was born and educated in France, where he graduated from Sciences Po, and he now lives in Australia. Dr Fathi is an award-winning cultural historian who focuses on the transnational dimension of war and its aftermath, in both the European and Australian contexts. The First World War, war commemorations and Australian identity are his primary research interests. His latest book, Our Corner of the Somme, was published with Cambridge University Press in 2019. Dr Fathi is currently investigating the handling of human remains during and after the First World War. He is one of Resilient Humanitarianism’s (DP190101171) Chief Investigators, an Australian Research Council-funded project (2019-2022). Dr Fathi publishes in French and in English, and he has taught at several universities including Sciences Po in France, Yale in the United States, and the University of Queensland in Australia.

Find me on Orcid, Research Gate and Google Scholar.

Qualifications and latest positions: 

2017 - Lecturer, Flinders University
Lecturer, Level B, full time. Teaching and Research position.

2016 - Associated Researcher, Sciences Po
Associated Researcher at the Centre for History (CHSP), Sciences Po, Paris, France.

2015-2016 Post Thesis Fellow, The University of Queensland
Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, UQ.

2015 Jointly-awarded PhD (Cotutelle), The University of Queensland - Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po). Thesis title: “‘DO NOT FORGET AUSTRALIA’. Australian war memorialisation at Villers-Bretonneux”. Unanimously awarded the distinction “Très honorable avec félicitations du jury”, France’s highest academic distinction, as a result of written reports and an oral defence held on 19 October 2015.
2010 Professional Master and Master by Research in History (top 5%). Two-year double masters degrees at Sciences Po, Paris. Thesis: “Museums’ representations of the 1914-1918 combatant’s body. The Australian War Memorial of Canberra through the prism of the Historial of the Great War, Péronne” [in French] (Highest distinction).
2008 Sciences Po’s Undergraduate Degree (Bachelor). Program in politics, economics, history and law.

Please refer to the funding section of my Orcid profile

Latest awards:
Recipient of the 2018 Vice Chancellor's award for Early Career Researchers.

South Australia’s 2018 Historian of the Year. Awarded by the History Council of South Australia.

2016 Awarded one of the Solemn Prizes of the Chancellery of Paris' Universities (Prix solennel de la Chancellerie des Universités de Paris,



Représentations muséales du corps combattant de 14-18. L'Australian War Memorial de Canberra à travers le prisme de l'Historial de la Grande Guerre de Péronne, L’Harmattan, Paris, 2013, 210 p. (See: Foreword of Professor Guillaume Piketty. This monograph was reviewed by Professor Antoine Prost in Le Mouvement Social. (See:

Abstract: Alternating the study of the Historial of the Great War of Péronne (France) and that of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, I propose a journey at the heart of cultural representations and perceptions of the Great War. One discovers the means through which a memory of the conflict was imposed in Australia and how the heroism of ancestors, supposed or proven, is mobilised to confer values and qualities on the whole nation. Through the prism that is each museum’s permanent exhibition, I decrypt the sense given to the first global conflict by these two institutions. History museums, on the condition that society valorises them as a place for knowledge or of cultural consumption, have in their hands an incredible power in that they can propose a vision of the past that is meticulously staged. It is this performative dimension of history museums that I invite to grasp so that visitors take a critical look at the version of history with which they are presented.

 Fathi, Romain. ‘Our Corner of the Somme’. Australia at Villers-Bretonneux. Under contract with Cambridge University Press for publication in March 2019.


Book chapters:

Fathi, Romain. “‘They Attack Villers-Bretonneux and block the road to Amiens'. A French perspective on Second Villers-Bretonneux” in New Directions in War and History, Tristan Moss and Thomas Richardson (eds). Newport: Big Sky Publishing, 2017, 53-71 (in press).

Fathi, Romain. “‘Connecting Spirits’: comportements commémoratifs d‟un groupe scolaire australien dans la Somme” in Den Krieg neu denken? Der Erste Weltkrieg im Spiegel neuer Quellen und Methoden, Bérénice Zunino and Philipp Siegert (eds.). Münster: LIT-Verlag, 2016, 143-162.

Romain Fathi, “‘A piece of Australia in France’: Australian authorities and the commemoration of Anzac Day at Villers-Bretonneux in the last decade”, in Nation, Memory and Great War Commemoration. Mobilizing the Past in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Shanti Sumartojo and Ben Wellings (eds.), Oxford, Peter Lang, 2014, 273-290.


Peer reviewed Journal Articles:

 Fathi, Romain. “‘We refused to work until we had better means for handling the bodies’. Discipline at the Australian Graves Detachment.” First World War Studies. 2018.

Fathi, Romain. “French Commemorations: The Centenary Effect and the (Re)discovery of 14-18”, Australian Journal of Political Science 50, no.3 (2015): 545-552. This symposium on First World War commemorations was convened by ANU Professor Joan Beaumont.

Fathi, Romain. “La Grande Guerre de l’identité nationale: mémoire, politique et politiques mémorielles en Australie des années 1980 à nos jours”, Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains, no. 258 (2015): 71-92.

Fathi, Romain. “La Grande Guerre à l‟Australian War Memorial ou l‟élaboration d‟un mythe national”, Matériaux pour l’histoire de notre temps, no. 113-114 (2015): 152-155.

Fathi, Romain. “‘Connecting Spirits’. The commemorative patterns of an Australian school group in Northern France”, Journal of Australian Studies 38, no. 3 (2014): 345-359.

Special Issue

 Fathi, Romain and Ziino, Bart. Coming Home. Special issue for History Australia (16/1), publication March 2019.

Book reviews:

Fathi, Romain. - Vicken Babkenian and Peter Stanley “Armenia, Australia and the Great War”, Australian Journal of Politics and History 63, no. 3 (forthcoming - 2016).

Fathi, Romain. - Adam Tooze, “The Deluge” History Australia 12, no. 2 (2015): 272-273.

Fathi, Romain. - Peter Hart, The Great War, in Politique Etrangère, vol. 79; 1. 2014.

Fathi, Romain. - Bruno Cabanes, The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism, 1918–1924 In History Australia, 2015.


Newspapers, magazines and internet publications:

 Fathi, Romain (2018). World politics explainer: The Great War (WWI). The Conversation.

 Fathi, Romain (2018). 100 years since the WW1 Armistice, Remembrance Day remains a powerful reminder of the cost of war. The Conversation.

Fathi, Romain. “Is Australia spending too much on the „Anzac centenary? A comparison with France”, Honest History, 14 April 2016.

Romain Fathi, “Une commémoration très politique”, Les collections de l’Histoire, n°66, January 2015.

Romain Fathi, “L'Australian War Memorial : temple de la religion civile”, Les collections de l’Histoire, n°66, January 2015.

Romain Fathi, “Exposer la Grande Guerre au musée-mémorial national australien. Le refus de la modernité au service de la fondation d'origines sacrées”, Arts et Sociétés. La lettre du Séminaire, 2015.

Romain Fathi, “Commémorer Gallipoli”, Les journaux de guerre, n°13, July 2014

Romain Fathi, “On the Importance of the Commemoration of the Centenary in Australia”,

Romain Fathi, “A few ways for researching the First World Warin Australia”,


Selection of conferences and seminars:

 “When the war is over. Burying the war dead in 1919”. Globalising and Localising the Great War Seminar, University of Oxford, January 2017.

 “Understanding the French-Australian Relationship: Imperial preferences and economic partnerships in the aftermath of the First World War”. War and Society Seminar, UNSW/ADFA, November 2017.

 “Entertainment at the Australians Graves Detachment”. Seminar Series, Flinders University, May 2017.

 “Creating records for the future. Commemorating commemorations in Northern France since the 2000s” for the International Society for First World War Studies’ conference, Deakin University, 9-11 July 2018.

“La Mission française en Australie de 1918. Attentes irréalisables, occasion manquée ou incompréhension mutuelle?” for the George Rudé Seminar in French History and Civilisation, ANU, 4-7 July 2018.

 “Tending to the dead: the Australian war graves detachment, 1919-1921” for the “Beyond Combat – History and the Military’s Other Tasks” conference, UNSW/ADFA, 13-14 July 2017.

 “Burying the Dead, Entertaining the living. The Australian War Graves Detachment, 1919” for the “Entangled History” conference, the Australian Historical Association’s (AHA) conference, The University of Newcastle, 3-7 July 2017.

 February 2016, “On the necessity of internationalising Australian military history of the First World War: Villers-Bretonneux as a case study” for the New Directions in War and History: Debating Military History conference held at the ANU, jointly organised by the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre (ANU) and the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society (UNSW Canberra).

 November 2015; “An official narrative of war: DVA-sponsored Anzac in the Somme (France) under the Hawke and Keating Governments” for the Narratives of War Symposium, held at UNISA in Adelaide.

 July 2015, “Engaging with the founding fathers: Australians‟ Commemorative Patterns at Villers-Bretonneux military cemeteries from 1990 to Today” at the Australian Historical Association‟s annual conference, The University of Sydney.

 October 2014, Paper “Pratiques et discours commémoratifs australiens à Villers-Bretonneux des années 1990 à nos jours” for the conference Den Krieg Neu Denken? Neue quellen und methoden zur geschichtsschreibung des ersten Weltkriegs at, Goethe-Universität and organised by the Institut Français d’Histoire en Allemagne in Frankfurt.

 October 2014, co-convenor of the workshop “Mobility and displacement during the First World War (1914-1923)”, Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po, Paris.

 October 2014, Paper “Exposer la Grande Guerre au musée-mémorial national australien. Le refus de la modernité au service de la fondation d'origines sacrées” at Séminaire Arts et SociétésGuerres et Paix, Sciences Po, Fondation de France, Paris.

 July 2014, Paper “A School Or Nothing: Victoria’s Department Of Education And Post-war Aid To Villers-Bretonneux”, at the Australian Historical Association’s 33rd annual conference, Brisbane.

 July 2014, chair for the panel “reading the war” at the Australian Historical Association’s 33rd annual conference, Brisbane.

 July 2014, convenor of the public conference “Somewhere in France, Somewhere in Australia” at the Queensland Museum, Brisbane.

 July 2014, Paper “Frederick Wecker’s Bayonet: an obsolete weapon in an industrialised war”, at Somewhere in France, Somewhere in Australia, The Queensland Museum, Brisbane.

 December 2013: Presentation for German and Macedonian curators with regards to Australian collective memory and remembrance practices related to the Great War for the OFAJ (French German Youth Council) Held at the Mission du Centenaire (France’s official board for WW1 centenary commemorations), Paris.

 January 2013: Paper for the seminar “the Great War Today” organised by Anne Hertzog and Nicolas Offenstadt under the aegis of the DMPA, Ministry for Defence, Paris.

 July 2012: Paper “‘Connecting Spirits’. The commemorative patterns of an Australian school group in Northern France”, 31st Annual conference of the Australian Historical Association (AHA) held in Adelaide.

 April 2012: Invited to deliver a communication for an international symposium at the ANU organised by the Centre for European Studies of the ANU (Canberra) entitled ‘Politics of the Past’.


I completed my PhD in October 2015 and was enrolled at the University of Queensland (UQ, see: as my primary institution and Sciences Po ( as my host institution within the framework of a Jointly-Awarded PhD agreement. My Principal Advisors were Associate Professor Martin Crotty (UQ) and Professor Guillaume Piketty (CHSP). My doctorate was funded through the UQI scholarship scheme. My thesis, entitled “‘DO NOT FORGET AUSTRALIA’. Australian war memorialisation at Villers-Bretonneux” explored Australia’s memorialisation of the First World War on the former Western Front in France, at Villers-Bretonneux.

During my PhD candidature, I undertook a doctoral exchange at Yale Universityduring the Fall Semester of 2014 as a Visiting Assistant in Research under the advisorship of Charles J. Stille Professor Jay Winter. During this semester, I also took on a position of Teaching Fellow for Bird White Housum Professor Timothy Snyder’s course Eastern Europe to 1914. This exchange was supervised by the Centre for the Americas at Sciences Po and Yale University.

Thesis’ awards:
2016 Awarded one of the Solemn Prizes of the Chancellery of Paris' Universities (Prix solennel de la Chancellerie des Universités de Paris,

2015 Short listed for the Serle Award, an international biennial award for the best thesis in Australian history, awarded by the Australian Historical Association (AHA). (

2015 Awarded the Gerda Henkel Foundation’s Scholarship through the International Research Centre of the Historial of the Great War, a research centre which members are world leaders in First World War studies. (

Teaching Contributions:

Flinders University -Course coordinating

 HIST1803 (The Lucky Country. Australia since 1939). This is a large First-Year course looking a key themes and issues in Australian history since 1939. This year, I integrated Object Based Learning to the course, taking all tutorials to the Flinders Arts Museum to work with anti-conscription Vietnam era posters, cartoons and material culture.

 HIST1703 (Turning Point in World History). This is a large First-Year course which presents key turning points in world history such as the Slaves Trade, the French Revolution, the Pill and the Atomic Bomb.

Course designing.

 HIST3046 I have developed a Third Year course entitled “The Great War. A Global History” which started in Semester 2, 2018. This topic focuses on the global dimension of the First World War. Drawing from up-to-date transnational and comparative historiography, the topic provides an understanding of a war that, in many ways, shaped the 20th century. It provides an opportunity to approach new ways of thinking about the conflict, outside national frameworks. The topic will also be delivered online from its second run.

 HIST2075 I am currently designing a Second Year course titled “Games of Thrones: the Early Modern World 1453-1789”. This topic surveys radical changes and rivalries in the Early Modern World from the late Middle Ages to the end of the Ancien Régime, starting with the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and ending with the French Revolution. Students are introduced to the major historical themes such as the Age of Discovery, the Scientific Revolution, the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment, while travelling to the Ottoman Empire, Persia, Britain, France, the Holy Roman Empire, Russia and the Mughal Empire.

Lecturer and Tutor - The University of Queensland, 2013 - present.
HIST1601: Turning points in World History (S2, 2015; S1 2016) Tutoring and marking for 85 students in 2015 (out of 370) and 192 in 2016 (out of 390). In both instances my teaching evaluations averaged to 4.80/5.

HIST2312: The History Makers (S1, 2015; S2 2016) Co-lecturing (over 200 students), tutoring and marking (81 students).

HIST1201: Australian History – Current Issues in Historical Perspective (S1, 2013) Tutoring and marking for 65 students. Teaching evaluation 4.66/5.

LTCS2024: Francophone Cultures (Co-lecturing and tutoring S1, 2016) Co-lecturing and tutoring 44 students. Teaching evaluations: 4.81/5.

HIST3302: The City in History. (S2, 2016). Tutoring and marking for 34 students.

Teaching Fellow - Yale University, Fall Semester 2014.
HIST263: Eastern Europe to 1914; Teaching Fellow for Bird White Housum Professor Timothy Snyder. As a Teaching Fellow, I was in charge of teaching for two classes (40 students) and facilitating students’ learning. Teaching evaluations at Yale do not come with a grade but I was informed by relevant academics that they were outstanding. These evaluations can be provided on request.

Course Coordinator - Sciences Po, Paris, Fall Semester 2013.
DHIS1980A: A Global History of the Great War. This appointment involved the designing and teaching of a new elective course for undergraduate students at Sciences Po, Paris, in English. The course portfolio and teaching evaluations (92% of very positive or excellent feedback) are available on request.

Tutor - Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme, 2013 - present. ITAS is a nationwide project funded by the Australian federal government to support indigenous students at university.

2016: Nominated three times as “most effective tutor” by recipients of the Dean‟s Commendation (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, UQ) for semester 1, 2016.

2013: Awarded the Certificate of University Teaching Practice by UQ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

2013: Completion of UQ’s Tutor Training Program.

Peripheral academic activities:

I am part of a research network, taking the form of a website, dedicated to the study of the commemoration of the Great War. See the International Research Network for War Commemoration’s website where I have made several contributions:

Invited by radio ABC (Canberra), I briefly spoke about my research and the paper I was presenting at the conference at the ANU. See or

2014: Scientific Coordinator for the event entitled “Somewhere in France, Somewhere in Australia”. The event explored the personal stories and experiences of Australians who served in France during the Great War and featured talks from historians and curators from France and Australia based on objects that belonged to these soldiers and that were brought to us by members of the public. For this event, I raised funding the Institut Français, the French Embassy to Australia, UQ’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and The Mission du Centenaire (France’s official board for the commemoration of the centenary of the Great War). The event was held at the Queensland Museum in July 2014. For more information please refer to an interview on radio ABC (Brisbane):