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
Classics Day Prize 2022
Kyoto, Japan, 19 July 2022
Christophe Marquet, professor of the École française d'Extrême-Orient, was awarded the Classics Day Prize on July 1st, 2022, for his contribution to the dissemination of knowledge of Japanese art in France, through his teaching, his publications, and the curating of exhibitions.

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“Émile Sénart” prize - AIBL
Paris, France,

The “Émile Sénart” prize for Indological research of the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres has been awarded this year to Hugo David for his book Une philosophie de la parole : l’Enquête sur la Connaissance Verbale (Śābdanirṇaya) de Prakāśātman, maître Advaitin du xe siècle, published in 2020 by the EFEO
Debate on the book by Alain Arrault,
Paris, France, 30 June 2022
As part of the "Cycle de débats du Centre d'études de la Chine moderne et contemporaine (EHESS)," Alain Arrault's book A History of Cultic Images In China. The Domestic Statuary of Hunan (EFEO-CUHK, 2020) will be discussed, under the moderation of Marie-Paule Hille (CECMC-UMR CCJ, Ehess), by Pierre-Antoine Fabre (Ehess), Florence Galmiche (Université Paris Cité - LCAO, UMR CCJ), and John Lagerwey (Ricci Institute of Paris) on Thursday, June 30, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Condorcet Campus (Forum of the Espace associatif et culturel, ground floor).
Exhibition ''TrancFiguration. Tattoos from Birth to Death''
Chiang Mai, Thailand, 28 June 2022

After being inaugurated and presented at the EFEO Chiang Mai Center and the Alliance française in Chiang Mai in May, and then at the Rai Mae Fah Luang - Art & cultural Park in Chiang Rai in June, the exhibition Trance/figuration, Tattooos From Birth to Death will be installed for two months (July and August) at the National Gallery in Bangkok.

Closure
Paris, France, 06 June 2022

The Maison de l'Asie, and therefore the library, will be closed on Monday 6 June 2022!

New Publication

Mémoires de Chine
Textes et légendes Alain Arrault

The collection of Mémoires de l'École française d'Extrême-Orient has been enriched by a new volume. Alain Arrault presents some sixty photographs on glass plates taken by Louis Finot in China at the beginning of the last century (before 1930).

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EFEO/ASIES Paris seminar
Paris, France, 30 May 2022

Catherine Scheer (EFEO) speaks on "Indigéniser le protestantisme bunong: les habitants des hauts plateaux du Cambodge entre rupture et continuité".

This seminar is part of the sequence 6: La question religieuse : sécularisation et réinvention of the common core of the Master in Asian Studies.

From 10:30 to 12:00. The conference will take place online on prior registration.
Once registered, you will receive the elements to connect (seminar link and password).

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EFEO Paris seminar
Paris, France, 23 May 2022

Jean Michaud (University of Laval, Quebec, visiting professor at the EHESS) speaks on "Cherchez le messie. Enquête sur la naissance de la rébellion de Pa Chay Vue (Batchai) au Tonkin".

From 10:30 to 12:00. The conference will take place online on prior registration.
Once registered, you will receive the elements to connect (seminar link and password).

Illustration: The Méo revolt [in French Indochina (Laos)] 1920, @BNF/Gallica.

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Exhibition
Paris, France, 10 May 2022
From May 2nd to June 30th, the Maison des étudiants de l'Asie du Sud-Est (MEASE) at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris will host the exhibition "Au fil de l'eau. Rivers of Southeast Asia".
This exhibition commemorates the 90th anniversary of the existence of the MEASE, founded in 1930 under the name Maison de l'Indochine.

Address: Maison des étudiants de l'Asie du Sud-Est, Grand Salon, 59B Bd Jourdan, 75014, Paris.

Free admission

Position open to competition
Paris, France, 09 May 2022

A position is open to competition: Lecturer at the EFEO in "Archaeology and History of insular Asia"

The deadline for receipt of applications is Monday 9 May 2022 at 18:00 (Paris time)

For more information please see the announcement READ MORE