Northwestern Events Calendar


Legitimizing the Colonial State: The Police Mixte and the Policing of the Sino-Indochinese Borderlands (1896-1918)

When: Tuesday, March 6, 2018
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Central

Where: 1902 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Graduate Students

Contact: Elizabeth Morrissey  

Group: Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS)

Category: Lectures & Meetings


EDGS Graduate Lecture Series

Melody Shum, History

The Police Mixte was a Franco-Chinese joint-institution established in 1896 to police the new “scientifically” demarcated borderline between China and Indochina. As a French-advocated institution aimed at solidifying French jurisdiction and territoriality that was greatly undermined by bandits, human traffickers, revolutionaries, and uncooperative Chinese officials, I argue that the Police Mixte was a “tool of empire,” a local institution mindful of the mechanisms necessary to enforce international bilateral agreements in a local, often multinormative context. The competition for authority in the borderlands predates the arrival of French imperialists. By examining the spaces on each side of the border as a single borderland through the daily operations of the Police Mixte, my project breakaways from a nation-state/ diplomatic approach that often ignores the role of unrepresented states (Vietnam for instance) and non-state actors in contributing to the violence and volatility of the Sino-Indochinese borderlands. Utilizing mainly reports and correspondences from the French diplomatic and colonial archives as well as the Academia Sinica in Taiwan in conversation with the historiographies of China, Vietnam, and French Indochina, my project tries to connect different scales of history through an international/ borderlands institution transfused by the very problems in which it was established to address.

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