The Archives of the Institut franco-chinois de Lyon: A Case Study of a Cultural and Academic Heritage of Global Modernity in the Age of Digital Humanities
1 Contexte, positionnement et objectifs de la proposition /Context, positioning & aims of proposal
We plan to organize, classify and digitize the archives of the former Institut franco-chinois de Lyon (Lyon Sino- French Institute, hereafter IFCL) so as (i) to create an accessible digital archive that will facilitate further projects aimed at disseminating the archive to a broader user base; and (ii) to raise questions relevant to our research project on the former students’ social and cultural life, intellectual imaginary, and epistemologies. Subsequent to the holding of a regular workshop and an international conference, a published comprehensive history of the IFCL will be produced ensuring the impact of this technological and academic project. A printed version and e-published version of this history, in the format of a “graphic novel,” or graphic guide, will be produced. A regularly updated website will log the milestones of the project.
The IFCL was an institution dedicated to the education and welfare of students from China, a constitutent part of the University of Lyon. Its intention was to mentor Chinese students and ensure their integration into the French higher education system. Founded in 1921, the Institute hosted 473 students during the 25 years of its existence. After their studies in France, graduates returned to China to provide the skilled intellectuals China lacked. At least a quarter of them obtained a doctorate. Many of them had outstanding careers as writers, artists, scientists, jurists, university professors or politicians, and made a considerable contribution to the development of modern Chinese society and its intellectual and epistemological landscape.
The Institute left an extensive collection of archives and documents, which are now the property of Jean Moulin University (Université Jean Moulin-Lyon 3) and are kept in and curated by the Lyon Municipal library with the assistance of the University's Chinese Department. The collection constitutes a unique example of the cultural and scientific dimensionsof the heritage of global modernity.
The main rationale for launching this project is the need for a comprehensive, historicized and theorized study of the Institute with academic research conducted from historical, epistemological and transcultural perspectives. Despite several studies regarding the Work-study movement – an earlier programme aimed at providing a French education to Chinese students - and the activities of Chinese intellectual and political celebrities in France, there is a noticeable lack of research specifically targettingthis Institute. Research interests on the Work-study movement are mainly concerned with its political implications and significance.
The scarcity of research on the IFCL is partially due to material and technical reasons. Since the 1980s, much work has been done on this remarkable collection by the Municipal library archivists, in particular J-L Boully, and members of Jean-Moulin University's Chinese Department (classification, cataloguing, indexation of the Institute’s library), but insufficient financial and technical support and a dearth of qualified personnel have not permitted the exploitation of the archives in a more thoroughand comprehensive way. The proposed academic and technological project will allow us to go a step further to expand access to this heritage to a wider user base of both researchers and the general public. While the Institute’s library collection has been catalogued and is available in the Lyon Municipal Library, most of the administrative and academic archives still need to be classified, catalogued and digitized.
The work will be divided into two main packages.
Work Package 1. Management, classification and digitization of a selected part of the archives. The work package concerns the following four components:(i) Selected students’ files; (ii) doctoral dissertations; (iii) administrative records of the Institute detailing students’ daily life and studies; (iv) the journal of the Institute (Annales de l’Institut franco-chinois).The resultant digitized archive will constitute the core of this particular research project, and also provide essential data for further projects.While the digitization process necessarily implies a technical dimension requiring professional intervention, this stage cannot be seen as totally separate from the research work package itself (see WP2 below). The prior management and organization of the archives must be considered as central to the research work since it will impact on the further analysis and interpretation of this cultural and intellectual heritage. The preparatory work prior to digitization must be supervised by researchers who have a detailed understanding of the cultural, political and intellectual historical context of the production of the documents to be
IFCL AAPG ANR 2018 Culture, Creation, Heritage (Challenge 8, Axe 5) – PRC
digitized. Moreover, the process of creating a digital collection constituting the main corpus of our study involves crucial theoretical and historiographic questions that will be raised in the course ofour research.
Work Package 2. Academic analysis and exploitation of the resultant digitized archive. Through this project, the archives will be exploited so as to address seminal questions related to the building of the cultural and national imaginary of Chinese students in the historical context of an asymmetrical geopolitics of knowledge between the “West and the rest”. The archives and the collection of the Institute’s library may be considered a “metatext” representing the intellectual and editorial activities of this “Chinese” institute in France, and of the students’ everyday cultural and social life. We posethe hypothesis that this institution can be interpreted as a set of practices, discourses and institutions, what Foucault termed a “dispositif”, contributing to the fabrication of subjectivities, in this case the construction of “Chinese modern subjects.” This textual and synchronic approach from the perspective of cultural history will be supplemented by in-depth social historical research – using prosopographical methodology - into the background of the students. The incoming students emanated from different cultural, linguistic and geographic backgrounds, but the particular political and socio-cultural conditions of the Institute contributed to the production of homogenized practices (constructing and consolidating the still emergent National Language or 國語 for instance) and representations, and the constituting of a national Chinese cultural imaginary within the Institute. At a micro-level, the Institute can be read as an allegory for the construction of China as a Nation-State and of its population as national subjects. From this perspective, our research will facilitate a deeper understanding of contemporary Chinese national consciousness in the historical context of a global modernity.
2 Organisation du projet et moyens mis en œuvre /Project Organization and Resources Used
The project research team leader is Gregory LEE, Professor of Chinese and Transcultural Studies at the University of Lyon (Jean Moulin), a specialist in Sino-Western cross-cultural studies and a recent ANR-MRSEI grant awardee. His first major work, Dai Wangshu: The Life and Poetry of a Chinese Modernist (Hong Kong: CUP, 1989) focused on one the most prominent graduates of the IFCL. His subsequent work has developed his thinking on cultural and intellectual flows between China and the West (Troubadours, Trumpeters, Troubled Makers, Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1996; Chinas Unlimited: Making the Imaginaries of China and Chineseness, Honolulu: Hawaii UP, 2003; "Le Cadeauempoisoné de Versailles ou la Chine à la manivelle de l'orgue de barbarie" Mouvements, 2012/4, n° 72 : « Décoloniser les savoirs », pp 79-88; an article on the early history of the IFCL: “ ‘La Marche sur Lyon’ ou le conte des deux forts”, Transtext(e)s-Transcultures, numéro 9, 2014; and most recently the iBook The Eighth Chinese Merchant and the Disappeared Chinese Seamen (2015).
The consortium is composed of key institutions bringing together complementary skills in the domain of China Studies, cultural history and social sciences: the Institute of Transtextual and Transcultural Studies (IETT-Lyon 3, EA 4186),the Lyon Institute of East Asian Studies (IAO-ENS, UMR 5062) and the joint research unit (UMR) ARENES affiliated to the CNRS.
The IETT will contribute methodological and theoretical expertise on research dedicated to transcultural and diaspora studies, literary and cultural history, geopolitics of knowledge and epistemology. As a core member of the Research Structure “Migration and Citizenship” (MC3M), the IETT lay the ground-work for this project with an international workshop in Lyon on “Migration of knowledge: the Case of the Lyon Sino-French Institute (1921-1946)” (January, 2012). Following the workshop, Transtext(e)s-Transcultures: Journal of Global Cultural Studies (online journal of the IETT) published a special issue (n°9, 2014)on the IFCL entitled “Geopolitics of Knowledge and Cultural Displacements”. Professor Craig Clunas, sinologist and art historian at Oxford University, and associate member of the IETT, will work with us on the impact of Lyon-educated Chinese art students on the development of modern art in China.The IETT work closely with Jean-Louis Boully, head of the Chinese Collections Department of the Lyon Municipal Library and the which has a unique, long-term expertise relating to the archives of the IFCL that it has housed for the past thirty years. A collaboration between the Lyon Municipal Library, the IETT and the French National Institute of Art History (INHA, Paris) has led to a virtual exihibition of the periodicals of the IFC (opening in November 2017); an exhibition is planned, in Lyon in 2018/19, including three partners: the Nouvel Institut Franco- chinois (an emanation of the Lyon Metropolitan government), the Lyon Municipal Library and the University Jean Moulin – Lyon 3.
The IAO (Institute of East Asian Studies) will bring to the project its rigorous methodology in historical and archival research. The cultural historical approach will contribute to identifying the background of some 500 students, especially the artists and writers. The coordinator of the project for the IAO (Marie Laureillard), historian of art and literature, has dedicated a book to the art of Feng Zikai during the Republican period, and written several papers on artists and writers of that period (see CV). She is also involved in a Getty Foundation project (Entangled Modernities: Chinese Artists Trained in Europe, coordinated by Prof. Sarah Fraser of Heidelberg University.) This work will illuminate the interaction between Chinese and French academic ambitions in the 1920s and 1930s which produced a seemingly concerted vision of the training of Chinese students in France, which appearedto correspond to the desires of the Chinese government at that time.
The project will also be supported by the joint research unit ARENES affiliated to the CNRS. ARENES is a multidisciplinary unit with a team including historians working on contemporary history but also specialists in social sciences working on questions related to citizenship, identity and elites biographical trajectories. The coordinator of the project for ARENES (FlorentVillard) is a cultural historian having published several articles dedicated to the cultural and intellectual identity of the IFCL’ students (see CV).
The project plans to make use of the support of the Cluster of excellence IMAGINOVE based nearby in Villeurbanne, and its expertise in the industry of digital content. IMAGINOVE will help the consortium in his potential future collaboration with structures working on digital knowledge technologies (images analysis, machine learning, deep learning, etc.). The team project will also develop close collaboration with Huma-Num, a Large Infrastructure of Research (TGRI) dedicated to digital humanities.
Estimated project budget
2 x 24 month postdoctoral fellows + 1 PhD student = 260 000 € digitization of the archives = 200 000 €
dissemination cost (published monography, graphic novel) = 40 000 €
6 workshop and 1 international conference field work expenses = 30 000 € General costs 42 400 €
Total = 572 400 €
3 Impact et retombées du projet/ Impact and deliverables
This proposal falls under the rubric of the ANR’s « challenge 8 »: “innovative, inclusive and adaptative societies” in particular “Culture, Creation and Heritage » (axe 5); and the themes of « heritage transformation and the politics of culture », « pre-history and history of culturals and cognitivesphenomenons, languages evolutions», and « interdisciplinary approach of cultures and religions ». It also falls withinthe scope of the ANR’s transversal theme (« challenge 11 ») on « digital revolution : knowledge and culture » (axe 4).
The IFCL research project segues into a local, dynamic institutional context of valorisation of this common Sino- French cultural heritage. In 2009, the City of Lyon set up a permanent exhibition on the Institute’s history. In partnership with Lyon 3’s Department of Chinese Studies, a new version of this exhibition was displayed in China during the 2010 world exposition in Shanghai. In addition, in the wake of Xi Jinping’s historic presidential visit to Lyon in March 2014, the City of Lyon decided to launch a new incarnation of the Sino-french Institute (“Le Nouvel Institut Franco-chinois de Lyon”). The new Institute in freshly refurbished premises, involves public and private, Chinese and French partners and incorporates economic, cultural and academic dimensions. It was inaugurated in September 2016. Not only will it contribute to maintaining and to promoting the heritage of the former IFCL, it also looks to the future of Sino-french cultural relations and functions equally as an academic exchange platform between French and Chinese scholars and institutions. Sun Yat-sen University, located in Lyon’s sister city of Guangzhou (Canton), is a principal partner in the new institute and will collaborate in this project. The new academic platform builds on a 16-year long relationship between Lyon 3 University and Sun Yat-sen University.
The digitized archive. The archives will be organized, classified and digitized inclose collaboration between the researchers of the consortium and the archivists of the Lyon Municipal Library. A dedicated website will host the
archives. The digitization must therefore be executed to high specifications so as to allow the possibility in a post- project phase of exploiting the digitized images in other formats, for instance a360-degree a stereoscopic interactive visualization environment (permitting an immersive mixed reality capability via an interactive relationship between viewers and the projected information spaces), onboarding to stand-alone virtual reality headsets, and adaptability to future advances in VR technologies.
Subsequent to the holding of a regular workshop (2 per year, six in all) and an international conference, a published comprehensive history of the IFCL will be produced ensuring the impact of this technological and academic project.
An e-published and a print version of this history, in “graphic novel” format, will be produced to make the IFCL archives and its history available to a broader public. Providing a narrative based on ourresearch findings, the consortium will work in close relation with graphic artists to realize this history of the IFCL. The graphic novelist who will be responsablehas already been located and approached.
A regularly updated website will log the milestones of the project. Moreover, the outcomes of the ANR project will facilitate and accelerate the development of a cultural and scientific hub dedicated to future transnational, transdisciplinary dialogue and a more elaborate, dynamic and interactive museum space with development potential for local and international tourism-related activities.
BOULLY Jean-Louis, Ouvrages en langue chinoise de l’Institut franco-chinois de Lyon 1921-1946, Lyon, Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon/collection bibliographica, 1995.
BAILEY Paul, « The Chinese work-study movement in France », The China Quarterly, n° 115, September 1988, p. 441-446.
CHAKRABARTY, Dipesh, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference, Princeton University Press, 2000.
CHEN Sanjing 陈三井(ed.), Zhongguo xiandai shi shiliaoxuanji : Qingongjianxueyundong 中国现代史史料选辑: 勤工俭学运动，Taibei, ZhengzhongShujuYinxing, 1981.
CHEN Sanjing 陈三井, Qingong jianxue de fazhan 勤工俭学的发展, Taibei, DongdaTushuGongsi, 1988. FOUCAULT Michel, « Le jeu de Michel Foucault » (1977) in Dits et écrits, III, Paris, Editions Gallimard, 1994. HUANG Liqun 黄利群, Liu Fa qingong jianxue jianshi 留法勤工俭学简史, Beijing, Jiaoyu kexue chubanshe, 1982. KARL Rebecca, Staging the World: Chinese Nationalism at the Turn of the Ttwentieth Century, Durham, Duke University Press, 2000.
LEE Gregory B"Tomorrow’s Humanities ? Head in the Clouds, Back to the Future, Across the World", Occasion: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, v. 6 (Oct1, 2013) http://arcade.stanford.edu/occasion /tomorrow%E2%80%99s-humanities-head-clouds-back-future-across-world.
LEE Gregory B, Dai Wangshu: The Life and Poetry of a Chinese Modernist, Hong Kong, Chinese University Press, 1989.
LEE Gregory B [利大英 Li Daying], “Dai Wangshu zai Faguo” 戴望舒在法國 [Dai Wangshu in France] in Xianggang Wenxue 香港文學, 69 (1990).
MIGNOLO Walter D., Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2000.
VILLARD Florent (dir.), “L’Institut franco-chinois de Lyon (1921-1946), une école de la modernité: arts, littérature, science” Transtext(e)s-Transcultures : Journal of Global Cultural Studies, n°9, 2014 (special issue on the IFCL) https://transtexts.revues.org/570.
WANG Nora, Emigration et politique : Les étudiants-ouvriers chinois en France 1919-1925, Paris, Les Indes Savantes, 2002.