Mobile Citizens: French Indians in Indochina, 1858-1955

$45.00 SGD

by Natasha Pairaudeau

When France laid claim to the territories that became French Indochina, its beleaguered trading posts on the east coast of India gained a new purpose, sending Indians to help secure and administer its newest possessions and to assist in their commercial expansion. The migrants were among those peoples of France’s overseas empire who gained the rights of French citizens following the French Revolution. This volume explores the consequences of their arrival in Indochina just as France was testing a new approach to its colonised peoples, an approach less enamoured with the idea of colonial citizenship and more racially ordered. This book offers an analysis of the fate of Republican ideals as they travelled between different parts of the French Empire and raised contentious issues of citizenship which engaged Indians, French authorities, and Vietnamese reformers in debate. It considers too the distinctive French colonial social order that was shaped in the process. A lively story, it is at the same time an important addition to scholarship on the French empire, on colonial society in Vietnam specifically, and on migration to Southeast Asia.

“Pairaudeau’s book is remarkable in terms of its imagination and archival research. It examines the predicaments of subjects, whose history in the context of competing imperial enterprises has not been told; it moves away from the overstudied British empire to look at the French one; it sets up a much-needed dialogue between histories of citizenship regimes in South and Southeast Asia, thus introducing a comparative perspective; and it shatters conventional assumptions about plural society and lack of local agency.” - Subramanian, Journal of Vietnamese Studies Vol. 12, No. 4

Natasha Pairaudeau is a research associate of the Centre for History and Economics at the University of Cambridge, and a Bye-Fellow of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge. She conducted field research in Vietnam’s uplands in conjunction with social development programmes from the mid-1990s, and later undertook a PhD in history at SOAS. Anthropological training and field work methods continue to inform her historical research, which addresses Asian migrations from the late 19th century and their role in shaping societies across Southeast Asia, particularly those of Vietnam and Burma.

Publication year: 2016
390 pp / 229mm x 152mm
3 maps, 18 plates, 2 tables
ISBN: 978-87-7694-159-8, Paperback
ISBN: 978-87-7694-158-1, Hardback

NIAS Press