Research & Donations

ISFAR is Australia’s only research centre dedicated to the study of the relationship between Australia and France. Its journal, The French Australian Review (FAR) is unique in its interdisciplinary coverage/interdisciplinarity, and is recognised as top-ranking and of national significance by important sectors of the Australian research community. The Australian Research Council recognises The French Australian Review (FAR) under two research categories: “Historical Studies” and “Language, Culture and Communication”.

The ISFAR Research Committee

• Chair, Dr Alexis Bergantz (RMIT University)
• Chair, Dr Elizabeth Rechniewski (University of Sydney)
• Adjunct Professor Stephen Alomes (RMIT University)
• Emerita Professor Jean Fornasiero (University of Adelaide)
• Assoc Professor Kerry Mullan (RMIT University)
• Emerita Professor Margaret Sankey (University of Sydney)
• Emeritus Professor Barbara Santich (University of Adelaide)

Alexis Bergantz photo Dr Alexis Bergantz (co-chair of the Research Committee) is a historian working on Franco-Australian history, New Caledonia and the French Pacific. He is currently writing a book for NewSouth Publishing on the history of the idea of French culture in Australia in the nineteenth century. The book is based on Alexis’ PhD thesis which he completed at the Australian National University in 2016 and for which he was awarded the John Molony Prize for best thesis in History and the prestigious ANU J. G. Crawford Prize for Academic Excellence. The thesis was also shortlisted by the Australian Historical Association for the Serle Award for best PhD thesis in Australian history. Alexis’ new research project investigates the transcolonial links between Australia and New Caledonia and the history of French convicts in Australia, both from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. He teaches at RMIT University in Global & Language studies, and tweets @alexisbergantz and @theISFAR.
Elizabeth Rechniewski photo Dr Elizabeth Rechniewski (co-chair of the Research Committee) is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney in the School of Languages and Cultures. She has a long-standing research interest in the political uses of the national past and has published widely on remembrance of twentieth century war in Australia, France and New Caledonia, including on the commemoration of the role of Indigenous soldiers in these countries. She was the co-author (with Judith Keene) of the official report for the French Ministry of Defence on war commemoration in Australia (Wieviorka 2009). As Chief Investigator on the ARC project Seeking Meaning in a Post-Cold War World (2013-2016), she published articles on the impact of Cold War ideology on decolonisation in French Cameroon and Madagascar, and, with Judith Keene, Seeking Meaning, Seeking Justice in a Post-Cold War World (Brill 2018). Her current projects include research into the tensions between France and Australia over control of the South Pacific in the late nineteenth-early twentieth century. She was awarded the title of Chevalier de l‘Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government in 2009 and the Ordre National du Mérite in 2010.
Stephen Alomes photo Adjunct Professor Stephen Alomes of RMIT University is a contemporary cultural and political historian and an expressionist painter and prose poet, with an interest in comparative studies. Co-founder of the Australian Studies Association in 1983 (now formally international, as InASA), he has had a continuing interest in European and French studies, as well as in nationalism, populism and war memory, and culture and sport. He has co-edited two books on Australia and Japan and was principal editor of A Changing France in a Changing World (1994) and French Worlds Pacific Worlds (1998), as well as six books on Australia. Other comparative work focuses on: French political leaders (Sarkozy, Jospin, Macron); the two bicentennials of 1988 and 1989; and Australian Football in France since the 1990s. Formerly, he chaired the editorial board of The French Australian Review.
Jean Fornasiero photo Jean Fornasiero is Professor Emerita of French Studies at the University of Adelaide, a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and President of the Languages and Cultures Network for Australian Universities (LCNAU). Her research interests lie within nineteenth-century French studies, focusing more particularly on the Napoleonic and Romantic periods. Her publications relate primarily to the history of French utopianism and French voyaging in the Pacific, both of which provide a rich source of early French-Australian connections. Recent publications include Reflections of a Philosophical Voyager (2016); The Art of Science: Nicolas Baudin’s Voyagers 1800-1804 (with Lindl Lawton and John West-Sooby, 2016); French Designs on Colonial New South Wales, 1803-1810 (with John West-Sooby, 2014). She was historical consultant to the Australian touring exhibition devoted to the artwork of the Baudin voyage (2016-2018) and a chief investigator on French maritime history projects funded by the Australian Research Council, The Baudin Legacy and Revolutionary Voyaging.
Kerry Mullan photo Associate Professor Kerry Mullan is President of ISFAR, and on the Editorial Board of The French Australian Review. She is Convenor of Languages at RMIT University in Melbourne, where she teaches French language and culture, and linguistics. Her main research interests are cross-cultural pragmatics, discourse analysis, language pedagogy, and verbal humour in social and online interactions (particularly French and Australian). Kerry is also the convenor of The Melbourne Salon, a series of regular cultural events, organised in collaboration with ISFAR, the Alliance Française de Melbourne and RMIT. She is Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, awarded by the French Government in 2016.
Margaret Sankey photo Margaret Sankey FAHA is Professor Emerita in French Studies at the University of Sydney. She is coordinator of the ARC-funded Baudin Legacy project and her research on the Baudin expedition focusses on first contacts between the French and the Aborigines of New Holland and Van Diemen’s Land. She has also published on early French notions of the Terres Australes and is at present working on a translation and critical edition in English of the seventeenth-century text of the Abbé Jean Paulmier, Mémoires touchant l’établissement d’une mission chrestienne dans le troisième monde. Autrement appelé, la Terre Australe, Meridionale, Antartique [sic] & Inconnuë which influenced French voyages of exploration to the Southern hemisphere. Her other research includes published translations from French: The Anthropological Structures of the Imaginary by Gilbert Durand and The Five Senses by Michel Serres. She is an Officer in the Ordre des Palmes académiques and Chevalier in the Ordre national du Mérite, awarded by the French Government.
Barbara Santich photo Professor Emeritus Barbara Santich is a food historian who initiated the Graduate Program in Gastronomy and its successor, Graduate Program in Food Studies, at the University of Adelaide. She also introduced postgraduate courses in Food Writing. Her research into food history/food culture focuses on both France and Australia, and her publications include The Original Mediterranean Cuisine (Wakefield Press, 1995; new revised edition Equinox, 2018) and Bold Palates: Australia’s Gastronomic Heritage (Wakefield Press, 2012). She is currently researching food, cooking and eating in eighteenth-century Provence.

The role of the committee is to stimulate, assess and support research in the field of French Australian Relations. It also manages the ISFAR Research Fund.

The ISFAR Research Fund

The Research Fund serves to commission specific research projects, to assist researchers in the development of research ideas and projects, and to award bursaries to young researchers to attend ISFAR and other relevant conferences.

Among the ongoing long-term projects already being overseen by the Research Committee are:
• The French-Australian Dictionary of Biography, a biographical dictionary of important figures in the history of French Australian relations.
• A history of the influence of French wine-making on the Australian industry, through the individuals and companies involved, coordinated by Professor Barbara Santich.
• Australia and France in a Regional and Global Context: Past Engagements and Future Research Directions, 35th Anniversary Symposium of ISFAR, 8-9 April 2021, RMIT University, Melbourne.

Generous donations to the ISFAR Research Fund in recent years have enabled us to expand our various research projects and activities. With support from our donors, we look forward to continuing to envisage and undertake future projects.

ISFAR gratefully acknowledges the support of the following donors to date:
Prof. Ivan Barko
Prof. Wallace Kirsop
Mrs Pamela Miller
Mr Richard Miller
A/Prof. Kerry Mullan
Mr Graham Neilson
Prof. Colin Nettelbeck
Dr Elizabeth Rechniewski

Donate to the ISFAR Research Fund

If you would like to make a donation to the Research Fund, then please complete the details and follow the instructions in the attached Donation form. Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible for Australian taxpayers and the ISFAR Research Fund will send you a Tax Receipt via email or mail.

For inquiries concerning ISFAR research activities, please contact