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
Second volume of the 2018/2019 activity report

The second volume of the 2018/2019 activities report was presented to the School's Academic Council on 23 June. It is now available HERE.
CEFC-EFEO Young Researchers' Day 2020.
Taipei, Taiwan, 22 June 2020
The EFEO Center in Taipei and the Taipei branch of the CEFC (Centre d'études français sur la Chine contemporaine) are organizing the CEFC-EFEO Young Researchers' Day 2020.

Yannis-Adam Allouache (National University of Singapore), Joachim Boittout (EHESS), Marta Pavone (INALCO), Skaya Siku (Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica), and Vladimir Stolojan (Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica) will present the results of their research with a teaching team led by Nathanael Amar (CEFC) and Frank Muyard (EFEO).
Ceremony at the National Museum of Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 18 June 2020
On June 18, the ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the disappearance of its founder George Groslier was held at the National Museum of Cambodia. READ MORE
Signature of a bilateral agreement for the CHAMPA project
Vientiane, Laos, 17 June 2020
On June 17, the Vientiane office of the Agence française de développement (AFD), which has already signed a partnership agreement with the EFEO for various actions carried out in the framework of the CHAMPA project, signed the general bilateral agreement for the same project with the Laotian Ministry of Planning and Investment. This project aims to preserve and develop the cultural and urban heritage of the Champassak and Savannakhet provinces (South Laos). The EFEO provides scientific expertise and training in four areas: geomatics, archaeology, museography, and restoration.
Vientiane Times article.

Legend: In the foreground from left to right: Mrs. Florence Jeanblanc-Risler, French Ambassador to Laos, Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment and Matthieu Bommier, Director of AFD.
Paris EFEO/ASIES Seminar
08 June 2020
François Lachaud (EFEO) speaks on: "Les Chemins hantés du nord : Bouddhisme et société locale dans le Japon moderne (1700-2000)" [The Haunted Paths of the North: Buddhism and Local Society in Modern Japan (1700-2000)] as part of the PSL-EHESS-EPHE-EFEO Master in Asian Studies, the general theme of which is "Dynamiques religieuses : traditions et innovations".

The conference will take place at 10 a.m. (Paris time) online. You can attend the seminar by logging on to this link.
 READ MORE
Doctoral contract – Campaign 2020
17 May 2020
Extension of the deadline for submitting applications for MESRI doctoral contracts - EFE.

Due to the current health crisis, the deadlines for submitting applications for the MESRI Doctoral Contracts - EFE, 2020-2023, have been extended.

The conditions remain unchanged but candidates who have already submitted their application may, if they deem it necessary, update it and send a new version by 17 May. Applications received remain registered.

The arbitrations will, as initially planned, be rendered during the month of June.

Details and the procedure for submitting applications to the EFEO can be found here.

Application documents may be sent until May 17th, 2020, 3:00 p.m. (Paris time), according to the procedures specific to each EFE. The results will be sent before the end of June.
 READ MORE
Blogpost
01 May 2020
Discover Arlo Griffiths' article on the DHARMA project blog: "Cataloging and digitizing estampages of inscriptions from Leiden University Library".
''Kyoto lectures''
Kyoto, Japan, 22 April 2020
The EFEO/ISEAS Center in Kyoto has decided to continue some of its activities online.

The next lecture (Kyoto lectures) will take place on Wednesday, April 22, at 6 p.m. in Japan (11 a.m. in France) and will be presented by Alistair Swale (University of Canterbury, New Zealand): "Gesaku Literati and Early Meiji Print Culture: Remaking Popular Culture for the Masses".

To join the conference click on this link.
The password will be put online on April 21 on the ISEAS and EFEO web page and on the blog of the Kyoto Center.
Article - L'Histoire

L'Histoire dedicates the dossier of its April issue to : "Angkor, how an empire dies." It contains contributions from Gabrielle Abbe, Roland Fletcher, Christophe Pottier, Yves Saint-Geours and Dominique Soutif.
Lecture by Mrs Tôn Nu Quynh Trân
25 March 2020
Mrs. Tôn Nu Quynh Trân's lecture: "The development of the urban space of Saigon from its origins to 1954 as seen through plans and maps of the city", which took place on September 19, 2019, at the Ho Chi Minh City Center, has been posted on the EFEO's YouTube channel.

This lecture is part of a series of bilingual lecture-debates (consecutive French-Vietnamese or Vietnamese-French; English-Vietnamese or Vietnamese-English translation) organized at the EFEO Center in Ho Chi Minh City. The audience of about forty guests consists of researchers, teachers, students, and intellectuals from Vietnam and abroad.