The award of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms) is an Order of Chivalry founded by Napoleon, and now recommended to the Prime Minister by the Minister of Education.

Dr Wharton is an expert on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activism in Britain and France. He has also published widely on French propaganda during the Occupation.

Along with his research interests, Dr Steve Wharton is Honorary Secretary of the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (ASMCF), and Co-Convenor of the French Civilisation and Culture Group at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution.

The University will host the annual conference of the ASMCF in September on the theme of Republican Values, which Dr Wharton is organising.

Dr Wharton, who is based in the University’s Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies, said: “This award is a very pleasant surprise, and I’m pleased that the impact of the work I do has such recognition by my peers and in a wider context.”

Professor Roger Eatwell, Dean of Humanities & Social Sciences, said: “Steve’s enthusiasm and breadth of knowledge about France have been an inspiration to generations of Bath students. His research on the Vichy government’s propaganda has broken new ground in a controversial period in French history. He is eminently worthy of this award.”

Dr David Clarke, Acting Head of Department, added: “It is very fitting that Steve should have been awarded this honour for promoting French culture. Alongside his research expertise, he is committed to encouraging an understanding of France, its culture and its history beyond the University. Public engagement is a key role for universities in society and Steve makes an excellent contribution to this.”