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The Uprooted: The Systematic Removal of Mixed-Race Children in Colonial Vietnam

October 26, 2016 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

public & students welcome; light reception @ 5:30pm

In the 1890s, French colonists in Indochina founded charity organizations to “protect” mixed-race children born to Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Lao mothers. Protection societies gave them room and board in French institutions, tuition to the colony’s elite schools and job replacement upon reaching adulthood. A close examination of protection society rhetoric, membership, and actions reveals that the societies helped managed the colony’s racial agendas in ways that the colonial government legally could not. While the societies’ efforts to “save” métis children did in fact help many of these children and their mothers by providing food, shelter, and an education, their program also had dire consequences for some including permanent separation from mothers and high incidence of suicide. This talk draws on oral histories and colonial records to explore the lives of these mixed-race children.

Christina Firpo is Associate Professor of Southeast Asian History and Women’s and Gender Studies at CalPoly University of San Luis Obispo, California. She is a author of The Uprooted (Hawaii, 2016) and has published numerous articles in such journals as Vietnamese StudiesFrench Colonial History, and the Journal of Social History. She is currently writing a book titled Negotiated Affections: Informal Economies of Clandestine Prostitution in Northern Vietnam, 1920-1954.


  • Southeast Asian Studies Program (seatrip.ucr.edu)
  • Department of Ethnic Studies (ethnicstudies.ucr.edu)
  • Global Studies Program (globalstudies.ucr.edu)


October 26, 2016
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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HMNSS 1303