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
Lectures
Paris, France, 21 June 2019
As part of the research on Dunhuang conducted by the CRCAO (UMR 8155) and the EFEO, GUO Junye and DANG Yanni (Dunhuang Academy) will give the following lectures:
- "The Royal Family of Khotan and the'Nirvana Temple'" (Guo Junye)
- "The Scripture On the Ten Kings: Belief and Practices" (Dang Yanni)

From 2pm to 4pm, Maison de l'Asie, 22 avenue du Président-Wilson, 75116 Paris, salon on the 1st floor.
Paris EFEO/ASIES Seminar
Paris, France, 17 June 2019
Olivier De Bernon (EFEO) speaks on "Les élites sociales et religieuses dans les Codes anciens du Siam et du Cambodge". This seminar is part of the « Exils et Migrations » theme of the ASIAS seminar (master AMO - Asie méridionale et orientale : terrains, textes et sciences sociales).

From 10:30 to 12:00, free admission
Maison de l'Asie, 22, avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, Grand salon, 1st floor
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Exhibition ''L’imagerie populaire d’Ôtsu : un art oublié du Japon d'Edo''
Paris, France, 15 June 2019
You have until June 15 to discover the exhibition "Ôtsu-e : peintures populaires du Japon", whose catalogue is also published by the EFEO.The images of Ōtsu are anonymous paintings produced during the Edo period in villages not far from Kyoto, to be sold to travellers who used to travel along the Tokaido road.
Special Archélogia Series n°27
Paris, France, 13 June 2019
On the occasion of the Journées nationales de l'archéologie from 14 to 16 June 2019, the EFE published a Special Archélogia Series (Editions Faton) coordinated by F. Prost. It contains contributions from Christophe Marquet, Élisabeth Chabanol, Viengkèo Souksavatdy, Christine Hawixbrock et Damian Evans.
Festival de l’histoire de l’art 2019
Fontainebleau, France, 07 June 2019
The Festival de l'histoire de l'art will be held on June 7, 8 and 9, 2019 in Fontainebleau.
On this occasion, the réseau des EFE will have a stand at the book and art magazine fair, and will participate through four conferences on the theme of "People":
- Christophe Marquet - EFEO: The invention of "popular painting" in 20th century Japan
- Alain Arrault - EFEO: Domestic statuary in China (16th-20th century). From a learned and Buddhist practice to a popular re-appropriation
- Jean-Baptiste Delzant - former member of the EFR: Abu Gosh Frankish Church and its 12th century paintings: a single ensemble designed for different audiences
- Olivier Christin - in collaboration with the Casa de Velázquez: "Abstract words[that] enlarge thought" (Tocqueville). Revolution, democracy and moral architecture

Festival program
Session at the AIBL
Paris, France, 24 May 2019
On Friday, May 24, 2019, a thematic session was held at the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, under the patronage of His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, on "25 ans de contributions cambodgienne, française et internationale à la conservation et au développement d’Angkor", in the presence of Christophe Marquet, EFEO Director.

The Secrétaire perpétuel Michel Zink "underlined the extent of the debt owed by the Cambodians and the French, and more broadly by the international community, to the École française d'Extrême-Orient, whose work in Angkor has been supported by the Académie since its beginnings".
Master « Études Asiatiques » (EHESS-EPHE-EFEO) – Inscriptions 2019-2020
Paris, France, 22 May 2019
PSL University opens at the start of 2019-20 a new master “Études Asiatiques”. This collaboration between the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE) and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales with a view to training researchers or experts capable of developing critical thinking on the Asian societies approached in their specialisations and in the long term.
Admissions for the Master "Etudes Asiatiques" are open: see the detailed information and the contacts for the teaching staff on the Master website and in its brochure.
Martin Nogueira Ramos presents his book
Paris, France,

On Monday, May 20, Martin Nogueira Ramos presents his book La foi des ancêtres. Chrétiens cachés et catholiques dans la société villageoise japonaise (XVIIe-XIXe siècles) (CNRS editions, 25 April 2019).
From 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm, in the Salon of the Maison de l'Asie. To attend the presentation, please confirm by email notification.
New publication
France, Paris,

Ōtsu-e
Peintures populaires du Japon
Des imagiers du XVIIe siècle à Miró
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Call for papers
Kyoto, Japon, 16 May 2019
On November 1, 2020, the EFEO Center of Kyoto will host a study day on architecture, urban planning and landscape in Japan.
Students, researchers and other practitioners in these fields related to space culture are invited to present their work and contribute to the scientific exchanges that will be held during the various meetings organized by the Japarchi network in France and Japan.
Proposals for communication must be sent by email before 30 June 2019.