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
JOB OFFER
Paris, France, 22 December 2020
The EFEO is recruiting a "research Scientist (Machine Learning / Data Science)", an expert in data science and machine learning who wishes to apply his or her skills to improve our understanding of human impacts on the environment from the distant past to the present, by helping to develop automated methods for recognizing the signatures of past human activity in lidar datasets.
Find out more (job description) READ MORE
Paris EFEO Seminar
Paris, France, 14 December 2020
Daniel Perret (EFEO) speaks on: "Réflexions sur le patrimoine archéologique du nord de Sumatra, IXe - XVIe siècle" [Reflections on the Archaeological Heritage of North Sumatra, 9th - 16th Century].

From 10.30am to 12pm. The conference will take place online upon prior registration.
Once registered you will receive the elements to log in (seminar link and password).

Legend: Ancient Muslim tomb of Barus, North Sumatra.


 READ MORE
Covid-19 Information: new procedures of the library
Paris, France, 04 December 2020

Confinement Autumn 2020: how to access the EFEO library and the loan-return service

The EFEO library is open by appointment from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. It offers a document lending and return service every Wednesday.

To make an appointment (reading space AND/OR loan-return service): CLICK HERE

Please check the EFEO's Facebook page and Twitter account regularly for any updates to the terms and conditions of the public reception modalities.
Inventories of the EFEO's archives online
Paris, France, 03 December 2020
The EFEO publishes the inventories of its archives: the platform of finding aids for the EFEO's holdings has just been put online. Its purpose is to bring together descriptions of all the School's collections. When available, digital versions of the documents are attached to the metadata.

EFEO Archives
Covid-19 Information: new procedures of the library
Paris, France, 01 December 2020

Confinement Autumn 2020: how to access the EFEO library and the loan-return service
The EFEO library is open by appointment from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. It offers a document lending and return service every Wednesday.
To make an appointment (reading space AND/OR loan-return service): CLICK HERE

Please check the EFEO's Facebook page and Twitter account regularly for any updates to the terms and conditions of the public reception modalities.
Paris EFEO Seminar
Paris, France, 30 November 2020
On Monday 30 November, Catherine Scheer speaks on: "Soldats subalternes : le combat méconnu de montagnards bunongs sous la République Khmère (1970-75)".

From 10.30am to 12pm. The conference will take place online upon prior registration.

Drawing: Lucie Labbé

Learn more about it
In Memoriam
26 November 2020
Jacques Dumarçay (1926 - 2020)

We are sad to announce the passing of Jacques Dumarçay, which occurred on November 22nd in Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse.

Read more READ MORE
Kyoto lectures
Kyoto, Japan, 20 November 2020
As part of the Kyoto lectures, Marco Tinello (University of Kanagawa) presents: "The Annexation of Ryukyu to Japan seen from a global perspective".

At 6 p.m. (Japan time). The conference will be broadcasted online via Zoom.

The password for logging in will be posted on the Kyoto Center's blog and ISEAS websites the day before.
EFEO inventory of Khmer Manuscripts on paper
Paris, France, 18 November 2020
The EFEO inventory of Khmer Manuscripts on paper (P.CAMB and P.CAMB.Paris) has been published on Calames.

Consisting of about 500 records, this corpus was collected in Cambodia, from end of 19th century to first half of 20th century.
 READ MORE
In Memoriam H.N. Bhat
27 October 2020
It is with deep regret that we announce the demise of H.N. Bhat, a scholar at the Pondicherry Centre of the EFEO for 24 years (1989 to 2013). He passed away in Shimoga, where his daughter lives, on Thursday, 22nd Oct 2020.

Read READ MORE