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Products for grant FT-58452-11

"Abandoned" Children: The Crises in Racial Patriarchy and Eurasian Children in Colonial Indochina 1890-1956
Christina Firpo, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Grant details:

The Uprooted: Race, Children, and Imperialism in French Indochina, 1890-1980 (Book) [show prizes]
Title: The Uprooted: Race, Children, and Imperialism in French Indochina, 1890-1980
Author: Christina Elizabeth Firpo
Abstract: For over a century French officials in Indochina systematically uprooted métis children?those born of Southeast Asian mothers and white, African, or Indian fathers?from their homes. For a wide range of reasons?death, divorce, the end of a romance, a return to France, or because the birth was the result of rape?the father had left the child in the mother's care. Although the program succeeded in rescuing homeless children from life on the streets, for those in their mothers' care it was disastrous. Citing an 1889 French law that raising children in the Southeast Asian cultural milieu was tantamount to abandonment, colonial officials sought permanent, "protective" custody of the children, placing them in state-run orphanages or educational institutions to be transformed into "little Frenchmen." This book investigates the colony's child-removal program: the motivations behind it, reception of it, and resistance to it. Métis children, Eurasians in particular, were seen as a threat on multiple fronts?colonial security, white French dominance, and the colonial gender order. Officials feared that abandoned métis might become paupers or prostitutes, thereby undermining white prestige. Métis were considered particularly vulnerable to the lure of anticolonialist movements?their ambiguous racial identity and outsider status, it was thought, might lead them to rebellion. Métis children who could pass for white also played a key role in French plans to augment their own declining numbers and reproduce the French race, nation, and, after World War II, empire. French child welfare organizations continued to work in Vietnam well beyond independence, until 1975. The story of the métis children they sought to help highlights the importance?and vulnerability?of indigenous mothers and children to the colonial project. This story will be of interest to scholars of French and Southeast Asian studies, colonialism, gender studies, and the historiography of the family.
Year: 2016
Publisher: Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-0824875152
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes