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
Fifth International Intensive course in Old Javanese
14 April 2019
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), founding member of PSL Research University (Paris), will co-organize this year, for the fifth time, an international intensive course in Old Javanese.

The course will take place from 21 July through 3 August 2019 at Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The deadline for submitting an application is set to the 14th of April 2019.
 READ MORE
Conférence ''Le bouddhisme tibétain en exil et la survie de sa communauté''
Paris, France, 04 April 2019
Fabienne Jagou gives a talk entitled Le bouddhisme tibétain en exil et la survie de sa communauté as part of the cycle Bouddhisme, politique et violence : le cas du Tibet organized by the Institut européen en sciences des religions and the EPHE.
At 18:30, EPHE - Bât. Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, 54 boulevard Raspail, Paris 6e, Salle AS1-01 (1st sous-sol, hall 1).
Paris EFEO/ASIES Seminar
Paris, France, 01 April 2019
Monday 1st April Vincent Tournier (EFEO) speaks on Pour une nouvelle histoire des ordres monastiques (nikāya) du bouddhisme indien as part of ASIES seminar (master AMO - Asie méridionale et orientale : terrains, textes et sciences sociales).

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
 READ MORE
Inauguration of 3 new rooms dedicated to the inscriptions at the National Museum of Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodge, 18 March 2019
On the 18th of March, on the sidelines of the section on pre-Angkorian inscriptions supplemented for the occasion by new presentations, the National Museum of Cambodia proposes a "focus" on the inscribed jamb (K.127) engraved with the date 604 of the śaka era (ie 682 AD), with the first known graphical representation of the zero in Khmer country. The program Corpus of the Khmer Inscriptions (CIK) of the EFEO contributed a lot to the writing of the notes.
EFEO Field Scholarships - 2nd Semester 2018
14 March 2019
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 14th of March 2019. READ MORE
Paris EFEO/ASIES Seminar
Paris, France, 11 March 2019
Monday 11th March Timothy Lubin (Washington and Lee University) speaks on From Scholastic Paraphrase to Customary Law Code? Genres of Javanese Juristic Literature part of ASIES seminar (master Amo - Asie méridionale et orientale : terrains, textes et sciences sociales).

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 READ MORE
Call for proposals
28 February 2019
Call for applications to participate in a field workshop in India "History, archeology, Bhakti: southern Andra Pradesh" (workshop funded by the project SPIF-ATALS of PSL). Application to be sent before February 28th.

Please click here for further informations (in french)
Conference ''Enjeux du patrimoine : de la restauration à la cartographie du paysage archéologique''
Fontainebleau, France, 09 February 2019
Christophe Pottier gives a conference for the APJFA (Association pour la promotion du jumelage Fontainebleau-Angkor): Enjeux du patrimoine : de la restauration à la cartographie du paysage archéologique.
At 17h, at the hôtel de l'Aigle Noir, place Napoleon Bonaparte at Fontainebleau.
Paris EFEO/ASIES Seminar
Paris, France, 04 February 2019
Monday 4th February Michela Bussotti speaks on Images de généalogies chinoises : objets et sources de la recherche.

This seminar is part of "Images: objects and sources / Research in primary sources" of the ASIES seminar (master Amo - Asie méridionale et orientale : terrains, textes et sciences sociales).

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 READ MORE
Exhibition ''Les bosquets sacrés d’Aiyaṉār / Groves of Aiyaṉār''
Pondicherry, India, 31 January 2019
As part of the Pondicherry Heritage Festival, the exhibition of Jean-Louis Cardin's photographs titled Les bosquets sacrés d’Aiyaṉār / Groves of Aiyaṉār was inaugurated on January 31 by Her Excellency Kiran Bedi, Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry.