France-Vietnam: a history of anthropology
5th, 6th, 7th of October (9:00 am-1:00 pm) – Institute for advanced studies of Paris (IEA)
8th of October (9:00 am-1:00 pm) – École normale supérieure of Paris (ENS)
France and Vietnam have a common intellectual history since 1624, when the Jesuit missionary Alexandre de Rhodes embarked from Macao for the port of Hoi An south of Danang and prepared for a stay of several years in Vietnam. He returned with a first dictionary of the Vietnamese language, the Dictionarium Annamiticum Lusitanum et Latinum, published in Rome in 1651.
Today, Vietnam is going through a period of its academic history when new ways for philosophical, literary and historical studies are expected. Such a renewal could result among other trends in an attempt to emphasize the forms of interweaving and long term cooperation with France and more broadly with Europe, to insist as much on the reference to Vietnam in the French human sciences as on the place of France in Vietnamese intellectual history.
In the continuation of the conference in Hanoi in June 2018 centered on the application of cultural transfer issues to a new scientific pedagogy in a Franco-Vietnamese context – a book resulting from this meeting Hanoi-Paris: un nouvel espace des sciences humaines (2020) has been published – the symposium in Paris in October 2022 is intended to enhance the cooperation between the ENS of Paris and Hanoi on the objects and methods of the human sciences envisaged with a view to cultural transfers. The focus this time will be on the Vietnamese part of a history of human and social sciences in France. We will insist on the role played by the reference to Vietnam in the development in France of anthropology (Condominas), geography (Pierre Gourou, Charles Robequain), orientalism and linguistics (Léopold Cadière). Nor should we neglect the place occupied by Vietnam in French literary history, either as an object or as an actor, historiography and of art history. This investigation will involve research on the presence in France of a Vietnamese memory which obviously exists at the National Library where a web portal (described in the book Le portail France Vietnam 2021) is already in use, but also in different other sites.
Knowledge about the Vietnamese cultural area has reached a degree where it now deserves its own history, a history that would not be purely descriptive but would integrate an analysis of the epistemology implemented. This knowledge is indeed also a reflection of the curiosities and expectations of the metropolis or the former metropolis concerning a territory which was a colony but also the starting point of an enlargement of French culture and sciences.
This conference will be a new stage in the exploration of a Vietnamese memory in France and of a common scientific background. This symposium will constitute a new stage in the exploration of a Vietnamese memory of France in the collections of the BNF and the BNV in particular.