The Uprooted: Race, Children, and Imperialism in French Indochina, 1890-1980
Christina Firpo just published a new book with the University of Hawaii Press entitled The Uprooted: Race, Children, and Imperialism in French Indochina, 1890-1980.
"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. In many cases, and 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 and claiming 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.'"