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Mobile Citizens: French Indians in Indo-China, 1858-1954
Published by NIAS Press
This first in-depth study of the Indian presence in French Indochina is a lively account of conflicts over the citizenship status of migrants within the French empire and offers a new perspective on the rise of inter-Asian migration from the late 19th century.
When France laid claim to the territories which 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.
Reviewer: Niels Mulder
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