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
Fourth International Intensive course in Old Javanese
Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia, 15 July 2018
Aiming to support the training of a new generation of Old Javanese philologists and to stimulate international collaboration in this field, the École française d'Extrême-Orient (French School of Asian Studies, EFEO) and the National Library of the Republic of Indonesia (Perpusnas), with support from the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris), PSL Research University (Paris), and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), will co-organize this year, for the fourth time, an international intensive course in Old Javanese.
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Talk by Christophe Pottier ''Archéologie du Grand Angkor: nouvelles données sur l'architecture du paysage''
Paris, France, 22 June 2018
On Friday, 22th, as Christophe Pottier speaks on Archéologie du Grand Angkor: nouvelles données sur l'architecture du paysage.

At 3.30 pm, public sitting in the Grande salle des séances, Institut de France, 23, Quai de Conti, 75006 Paris.
12th DocAsie Day
Paris, France, 20 June 2018
The next DocAsie meetings will take place from June 20th to 22nd in Paris, at the Maison de l'Asie and at the Campus Condorcet (Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Paris Nord). For these 12th Days, the focus will be on the treatment of sound funds as well as the presentation of precious and / or specialized funds.
The provisional program is available HERE.
Registrations are closed.

(Manuscrit rituel bouddhique MS.SL.59 dit « collection de mudrās », Népal, XIXe siècle, collection Sylvain Lévi, Institut d'études indiennes du Collège de France)
Paris EFEO Seminar
Paris, France, 18 June 2018
Monday 18th June Arlo Griffiths (EFEO) speaks on Histoire sociale des brahmanes en Inde et les modes de transmission du corpus védique.

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Free admission)
Maison de l'Asie, First floor salon, 22 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris
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New publication
New publication
Talk by Franciscus Verellen sur ''La stèle du Chenal de la puissance céleste et la naissance de la poudre noire en Chine''
Paris, France, 08 June 2018
Friday, June 8, Franciscus Verellen speaks on La stèle du Chenal de la puissance céleste et la naissance de la poudre noire en Chine at the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. On this occasion, he presents the latest epigraphic discoveries collected on the Chinese coast of the Gulf of Tonkin (Guangxi) during a field mission in May 2018 on the remains of the channel dug by Gao Pian in 868, opening a supply route and trade between the Annam Protectorate and mainland China.
At 3.30 pm, public sitting in the Grande salle des séances, Institut de France, 23, Quai de Conti, 75006 Paris.
International Conference 23-25 May 2018
Paris, France,

From 23th to 25th May will be held the international conference Modes of Authority and Aesthetic Practices from South to Southeast Asia at the École Normale Supérieure.

Programme

ENS, Salle Paul Celan, 45 rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris.
Talk by Christophe Marquet ''Les peintres de Meiji aux prises avec la modernité''
Paris, France, 18 May 2018
On Friday, 18th, as part of the colloquium Meiji on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the restoration of Meiji (1868), Christophe Marquet speaks on Les peintres de Meiji aux prises avec la modernité at the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres.
Programme and registration

Grande salle des séances, Palais de l'Institut de France, 23 quai de Conti, 75006 Paris
Exhibition 'Ombre et lumière, danses et théâtres au Cambodge'
Paris, France, 15 May 2018
Come and discover a selection of photographs from the EFEO archives on the occasion of the exhibition Ombre et lumière, danses et théâtres au Cambodge, which is held 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.