History

Statue

The Indochina Years

The École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO), or French School of Asian Studies, was founded in 1898 in Saigon as the Mission archéologique d'Indo-Chine. The institution was created on the joint initiative of the Oriental Studies section in the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres and the colonial government of what was then French Indochina, the former envisaging scholars working onsite in Asia - along patterns already established by the French institutes in Athens, Rome, and Cairo - whereas the latter aimed to establish an authority that would be responsible for the inventory and preservation of the cultural heritage of Indochina.

In 1900 the Mission archéologique was renamed École française d'Extrême-Orient, and in 1902 the School headquarters were removed to Hanoi, with its main missions defined as archaeological exploration, collection of manuscripts, preservation of monuments, inventorying of ethnic groups, linguistic studies, and the study of the history of all Asian civilizations from India to Japan. To this end an ambitious academic programme, a library and a museum - which has since become the Vietnamese National Historical Museum - were put in place at the headquarters. Other museums followed: at Da Nang, Saigon, Hue, Phnom Penh, Battambang, and elsewhere. In 1907 the EFEO was assigned responsibility for the conservation of the Angkor archaeological site. This early phase of EFEO's work is still renowned for the contributions of many distinguished Orientalists: Paul Pelliot, Henri Maspero, and Paul Demiéville in Chinese studies; Louis Finot and George Cœdès in Indochinese epigraphy; Henri Parmentier in archaeology, Paul Mus in the history of religion, among many others.

The School's development after 1945

After 1945 a new period opened for the EFEO. Despite the war, and thanks to a real desire for scholarly cooperation with the newly independent states in the area, its members continued their work in continental Southeast Asia: ethnology, Buddhist studies, studies of language, literature, and above all archaeology, with huge reconstruction sites among the monuments of Angkor using the newly developed method of anastylosis. In 1957 the School was obliged to leave Hanoi, and finally, in 1975, Phnom Penh. During this troubled period the EFEO dedicated itself to widening its range of activities and developing new scholarly collaborations. In India, a permanent center was opened in Pondicherry in 1955 to carry out studies in Shivaite literature and the history of the art of the southern part of the subcontinent; later a branch of this center was opened in Pune. During the late 1950's a center was established in Jakarta for archaeologists and specialists in religious epigraphy. In Japan in 1968 the Hobogirin Institute in Kyoto brought together specialists in Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, and, a few years later, a center was established in Chiang Mai for the study of the Buddhism of Southeast Asia. Distinguished scholars from this period include, among others, Jean Filliozat in Indian studies, Rolf A. Stein in Chinese and Tibetan studies, Bernard Philippe Groslier in the archaeology of Angkor, Charles Archaimbault in Laotian ethnology, and Maurice Durand in Vietnamese studies.

The EFEO in the 21st century

The end of the war and return to a degree of stability in Southeast Asia allowed the EFEO to reestablish itself in the region, in response to requests by several local academic and political authorities. The Ecole first returned to Cambodia in 1990, after the restitution of its former real estate in Siem Reap and the revival of archaeological and conservation work at Angkor. Three years later came the opening of a new Centre in Vientiane, followed by Hanoi where the EFEO acquired a new building and library and engaged once again in research and publication in the fields of history, anthropology and epipraphy. This return to the institution's roots did not slow the opening of new horizons, both geographical and thematic: new Centres were opened in partneship with local institutions in Kuala Lumpur (National Museum), Hong Kong (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Taipei (Academia Sinica), Tokyo (Toyo Bunko), Seoul (University of Korea), and finally Beijing (Chinese Academy of Sciences); in terms of research priorities, the period saw a marked opening to the Social Sciences and contemporary Asia: study of Indian commercial networks, the modern and contemporary demography of highland continental Southeast Asia, ehtnic conflict and issues of national and regional integration of minorities, the dynamics of religion in the contemporary societies of China, Thailand and Indonesia, the politics of national heritage conservation. At the beginning of the 21st century the EFEO participates actively in the digital transformation of humanities research and the growing internationalisation of Asian studies, and occupies a central position in the network of high-level academic partnerships in Asia and Europe developed since 2007 under the European Consortium for Asian Field Study initiative (ECAF).

EFEO News
Study Days ''Paris Dialogue on Archaeological Lidar''
Paris, France, 10 December 2018
The Paris Dialogue on Archaeological Lidar brings together, for the first time, a broad cross-section of archaeologists who use landscape-scale airborne laser scanning, along with key scholars in archaeological method and theory and specialists from other disciplines such as information technology, remote sensing, ecology, remote sensing, and engineering. The aim is to cultivate an ongoing dialogue between the archaeological lidar community, including important input and perspectives from outside the discipline, with a view to identifying and addressing some of the challenges we face as lidar continues to transform landscape archaeology and eventually becomes a routine part of archaeological fieldwork.
Study Day ''Typographies orientales et Imprimerie nationale. Histoire et patrimoine''
Paris, France, 06 December 2018
Michela Bussotti and François Lachaud are organizing the Study Day Maîtriser les langues, apprivoiser le monde, dictionnaires et lexiques bilingues en Asie orientale.

From 9h30 to 17h, Maison de l'Asie, Grand salon 1st floor, 22 avenue su Président Wilson, 75016 Paris.
Visit of Christophe Marquet to Cambodge
Angkor, Cambodge, 05 December 2018
The director of the EFEO paying his respect to his majesty Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, on the occasion of the gala dinner offered by the national authority Apsara in Angkor (Elephant Terrace), for the 25th Anniversary of the International Coordinating Committee for the safeguarding and development of the historic site of Angkor (UNESCO), December 5, 2018.
Study Day '' Connecting Megalithic Cultures in South Asia ''
Paris, France, 04 December 2018
Valérie Gillet and Laurianne Bruneau (EPHE) are organizing the Study Day Connecting Megalithic Cultures in South Asia.

From 9:30 to 18:30, Maison de l'Asie, Grand salon on the 1st floor, 22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris
Visit of Christophe Marquet to Bangkok
Bangkok, Thailand, 03 December 2018
Christophe Marquet, director of the EFEO, and Pirapon Pisnupong, director of the Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Center in Bangkok, Thailand, signed on Monday, December 3, 2018 a MOU which formalizes the scientific relations with this institution that hosts the Center of the EFEO since its creation in 1997.
Study Day ''Typographies orientales et Imprimerie nationale. Histoire et patrimoine''
Paris, France, 30 November 2018
Michela Bussotti and Fabien Simon (ICT) are organizing the Study Day Oriental Typographies and Imprimerie Nationale. History and heritage.

From 9h to 18h, Maison de l'Asie, Grand salon 1st floor, 22 avenue su Président Wilson, 75016 Paris.

Free access within the limits of available places.
Exposition Voiles d'Asie / Sails of Asia
Paris, France, 30 November 2018
Since 21st November the new exhibition Voiles d'Asie / Sails of Asia. Images from the EFEO photo library in collaboration with the research program "SeaFaring: Maritime knowledge for China seas" hangs at the Maison de l'Asie on the 1st floor and in the reading room of the library.
Free admission, from Monday to Friday from 9h to 18h.22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris.
Paris EFEO Seminar
Paris, France, 26 November 2018
Monday 26th November Catherine Scheer (EFEO) speaks on Revendications autochtones, représentations savantes. L’influence d’études orientalistes et anthropologiques au sein d’une minorité montagnarde du Cambodge en quête de droits.

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Free admission)
Maison de l'Asie, First floor salon, 22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris READ MORE
Conference ''A Turning Point: The Murals of Gongkar Chosde Monastery and the Kyentse Painting School''
Paris, France, 26 November 2018
Mr. Luo Wenhua, Director of the National Palace Museum Research Center for Tibetan Buddhist Heritage, presents A Turning Point: The Murals of Gongkar Chosde Monastery and the Kyentse Painting School.
Conference ''Maritime Knowledge for Asian Seas. An interdisciplinary dialogue between maritime historians and archaeologists''
Paris, France, 21 November 2018
The conference Maritime Knowledge for Asian Seas. An interdisciplinary dialogue between maritime historians and archaeologists, within the framework of the seaFaring research program (ANR / MOST) with the financial support of the ANR, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, the EFEO and the CRCAO, with the EHESS and IEA assistance is held respectively at the EFEO on the 21st, at the Institut d’études appliquées in Paris on the 22nd and at the EHESS on 23 November.
Programme