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Dr Vesna Drapac

Telephone +61 8 8313 5821
Position Associate Professor
Fax +61 8 8313 4341
Building Napier Building
Floor/Room 4 07
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit History

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Biography/ Background

Vesna Drapac was born in Adelaide and holds degrees from the Universities of Adelaide (BA and BA Hons) and Oxford (D.Phil). On her return from Oxford, where she studied at New College as a Rhodes Scholar, she was Tutor in History at the Flinders University of South Australia.  She has been teaching at the University of Adelaide since 1992.

Teaching Interests


Vesna was awarded the Executive Dean’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2006.  Her undergraduate teaching is largely in the area of modern European history and she convenes the following upper level courses: 

  • Modern France: From Revolution to Resistance;

  • Fascism and National Socialism;

  • Reel History: World War Two in Film.

Vesna teaches an Honours course on resistance and collaboration in Hitler's Europe and she supervises students at honours and postgraduate levels writing theses on a wide range of topics.  PhD completions under her supervision include: 

  • Michele Cunningham, ‘Mexico and the foreign policy of Napoleon III’;

  • Ellen Hall, ‘“You can't make owt from nowt”: Official responses to the impact of unemployment upon the community in the Lancashire weaving area in the early 1930s’;

  • Janice Pavils, ‘Anzac Culture: A South Australian case study of Australian identity and commemoration of war dead’;

  • Ashley Thomas, ‘Utopian aspirations in Fascist ideology: English and French literary perspectives 1914-1945’;

  • Julie Thorpe, ‘Pan-German identity and the press in Austria 1933-1938’.

Research Interests

Vesna’s research interests are primarily in the area of modern European history, with particular focus on the social and cultural impact of war in the twentieth century; the historiography of resistance and collaboration in Hitler’s Europe; representations of women at war; film and history; and Catholic devotional life and practice. Several of these interests converge in her recent book, Constructing Yugoslavia: A Transnational History, which was published in 2010.  The book broadly covers the period from the late 1850s to the death of Tito in 1980 and provides a novel perspective on the idea of Yugoslavia through its various permutations.   She is currently working on a number of projects: the early films of Robert Bresson; the Yugoslav Partisans in history and memory; the historiography of the Second World War in Europe in a comparative context; and the international appeal of Therese of Lisieux in the mid-twentieth  century.
Vesna’s secondary research interest is the history of twentieth-century Australian immigration in the context of identity politics, multiculturalism and citizenship.

A selection of her publications is listed below.


Sole-authored books


Constructing Yugoslavia: a Transnational History (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

War and Religion: Catholics in the Churches of Occupied Paris (Washington DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1998).

Edited works

Volume 2 of the e-journal French History and Civilization Vol.  2 (2009) with André Lambelet. This journal is published by H-France and Volume 2 brings together articles based on papers presented at the 15th George Rudé Seminar in French History and Civilisation held at the University of Adelaide in July 2006.

Book Chapters

‘Yugoslav Studies and the East-West Dichotomy’ in The East-West Discourse: Symbolic Geography and its Consequences, edited by Alexander Maxwell (Peter Lang: Oxford and Bern, 2011), pp. 93-125.  (Volume 8 in the series Nationalisms Across the Globe.)

Refereed articles

‘Thérèse of Lisieux: the appeal of a French Saint at a time of international crisis’, French History and Civilisation. Papers from the George Rudé Seminar, Vol. 4 (2011), pp. 118-132.

‘Women, Resistance and the Politics of Everyday Life in Hitler’s Europe: The case of Yugoslavia in a Comparative Perspective’, Aspasia, 3 (2009), pp. 55-78.

‘Active Citizenship in Multicultural Australia: the Croatian Experience’, Humanities Research Journal, Diversity, Integration and Citizenship, 15 (2009), pp. 59-73.

‘The Memory of War and the History of the First Yugoslavia’, War and Society, 23 (2005), pp. 23-41.

‘Perceptions of post-WWII Croatian immigrants: the South Australian Case’, Croatian Studies Review, 3-4 (2005), pp. 27-39.

‘The End of Yugoslavia’, Contemporary European History, 10 (2001), pp. 317-331.

‘Bresson’s “Les Anges du Péché”: a film of no interest to historians?’, Australian Journal of French Studies, 36 (1999), pp. 89-100.

‘Religion in a dechristianised world: French Catholic responses to war and occupation’, Journal of European Studies, 26 (1996), pp. 389-416.

‘Christians and Conservatives in Twentieth-Century France’, The Historical Journal, 39 (1996), pp. 845-851.

    Community Engagement

    Community History Projects

    • ‘Croatians in South Australia’ (2004)
    • ‘The Croatian Ethnic School Adelaide, 1966-2006’ (2006)

    Entry last updated: Tuesday, 11 Aug 2015

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