Call for Papers – Upcoming Conference: Around the Sino-French Institute (1921-1950): student diaspora, circulation of knowledge and Sino-French institutional relations

Université Jean Moulin, Lyon, France
28th May 2025
Deadline: 30th Jul 2024

Université Jean Moulin – Lyon 3 – IETT (Institut d’Etudes Transtextuelles et Transculturelles)
Exchanges between China and France in the field of education, and more particularly higher education, are still under-researched and under-recognised. Based on the experience of the Sino-French Institute in Lyon, the aim of this conference will be to retrace the history of exchanges between France and China in this particular field and to highlight the dynamics of these exchanges, from the first attempts by French missionaries to those that emerged in the first half of the 20th century. While the history of certain institutions has been the subject of recent research or publications, the links between them and the future of individuals who have passed through these structures, in China or in France, are still poorly documented. Although France’s commitment to education in China began very early (17th century), it was from the end of the 19th century onwards that both Chinese and French initiatives, religious and secular, multiplied and helped to create a dynamic that developed and grew until 1950, contributing to the circulation of knowledge and the establishment of networks of relations in a wide variety of fields (scientific, legal, literary, philosophical, artistic, medical, etc.). This rich history of cultural and intellectual transfers between China and France in the first part of the twentieth century takes place in a context that questions the geopolitics of knowledge. The military and economic dimensions of European imperialism are reflected in a desire for epistemological domination in the field of knowledge production, which permeates Sino-French university relations. But while the circulation of modern scientific knowledge often seems to be a one-way street, from Europe to China, the theses of students at the Sino-French Institute show a specific positioning vis-à-vis Western and Chinese academic cultures and a revealing treatment of the cultural representations at work both among the students and their thesis supervisors. The power relations at play in the process of thinking about and writing a dissertation reveal a more complex dynamic than might at first seem the case.

With the idea of exchanges and the socio-political context as a condition for them as a guiding principle, the aim is to examine the role and nature of these exchanges between China and France, based on the actors and practices of the Sino-French Institute in relation to other Sino-French or French educational establishments in China. From an interdisciplinary perspective (anthropology, art history, history, literature, philosophy, sociology, and traductology), the focus will be on Chinese students who have come to France, those who have attended Franco-Chinese schools in Chinaand French or Chinese teachers who have worked in these schools.

Read the complete announcement’s PDF in French and English: