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
International Conference ''Sovereignty and imperial patronage in China (XIIIth-XXth century)''
25 October 2018
The International Conference Sovereignty and imperial patronage in China (XIIIth-XXth century), organized by Luca Gabbiani (EFEO, UMR 8173-CCJ), Marianne Bujard (EPHE) and Luo Wenhua (National Palace Museum Research Center for Tibetan Buddhism Heritage), is held at Peking, from October, 25th to 27th, 2018.
The conference program and the abstracts of the presentations are available on the website: https://imperial-patronage.efeo.fr
Paris EFEO Seminar
Paris, France, 22 October 2018
Monday 22th October LEE Hyoung-sik (Asiatic Research Institute, Korea University) speaks on Japanese Ruling Elites of Colonial Korea and their Postwar Compilation on the History of Governing: The Case of ''Yūhō Kyōkai'' (Friendly Nation Association).

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
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Call for crowdfunding
17 October 2018
On fire ! Experimental Archaeology is a festival which takes place every four years at the EFEO Center in Siem Reap.

The crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the organization of the archaeological experiment (baking ceramics in a dragon kiln replica and iron ore reduction) on 6 December has been launched.

To participate, access the site Kisskissbankbank.
Joint seminar ''Archéologie en Extrême-Orient''
Paris, France, 15 October 2018
The next speakers at the new EFEO / UFR joint seminary of art and archeology of the Faculty of Letters of Paris-Sorbonne University will be:
  • 15/10: Valérie Gillet, Archéologie en Inde : contexte et spécificités
  • 22/10: Brice Vincent, Fondre pour le Roi, archéométallurgie à Angkor
From 9 am to 11 am, Maison de l'Asie, ground floor room, 22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris.
This seminar is open to Master 1 & 2 students as well as PhD students.
Full program READ MORE
21st ''Rendez-vous de l’Histoire''
Blois, France, 10 October 2018
The five Écoles françaises à l’étranger (EFE) will participate in the 21st Rendez-Vousde l'Histoire, in Blois, from Wednesday 10 to Sunday 14 October 2018. They will present at the book fair a selection of their publications and will gather five of their researchers for a carte blanche on October 12th on the theme "The fear of images".
Programme
EFEO Field Scholarships - 1st Semester 2019
30 September 2018
The deadline for submitting an application to an EFEO Field Scholarships for Master and PhD students enabling a field study in Asia at one of the EFEO centers is set to the 30th of September 2018.
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Paris EFEO Seminar
Paris, France, 24 September 2018
Monday 24th September Costantino Moretti (EFEO) speaks on O quam gravis est scriptura : notes diverses sur les fautes de copie dans les manuscrits bouddhiques de Dunhuang.

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
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In Memoriam Hubert Durt
15 September 2018
Hubert Durt passed away on September 15, 2018. For more than half a century, he was one of the figures of Buddhist studies and, beyond that, of intellectual relations between France and Japan.

Read the In Memoriam (in french)
In Memoriam Michèle Pirazzoli-t’Serstevens
Paris, France, 12 September 2018
Michèle Pirazzoli-t’Serstevens (1934-2018)

READ THE IN MEMORIAM
On line communication of the 12th annual meeting of DocAsie
Paris, France, 12 September 2018
Communications from the 12th annual meeting of DocAsie are now available online on the website of the Réseau National DocAsie.