Margaret Sankey is Emeritus Professor of French Studies at the University of Sydney and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. She specialises in French cultural history and has published extensively on different aspects of the Baudin expedition to the Southern hemisphere. In 2002, to mark the bicentenary of Baudin’s visit to the British colony of Port Jackson, she organised the Australian Society for French Studies conference, Regards croisés: the French and Terra Australis from the sixteenth century to the present, at the University of Sydney.
She has presented numerous papers in national and international fora on the Baudin expedition: Paris, Le Havre, Mauritius, Brussels, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth. In 2007 she gave the inaugural Frank Horner lecture, Writing and Rewriting the Baudin Scientific Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere (1800-1804), at the FATFA conference in Adelaide and in 2008 she presented a paper at the conference on Lapérouse et les explorateurs français du Pacifique, at the Musée de la Marine in Paris.
Her research on the Baudin expedition is allied to her interest in French notions of the Terres Australes in the seventeenth century and the influence of the Abbé Paulmier’s Mémoires (1663) on early French voyages of exploration to the Southern hemisphere.
In 2008 Professor Sankey was made an Officier in the Ordre des Palmes académiques by the French Government.