Colonial Cambodia's 'Bad Frenchmen': The rise of French rule by Gregor Muller

By Gregor Muller

Even as a biography and a background of the way Cambodia grew to become colonized via the French within the 19th century, Cambodia's undesirable Frenchmen deals a charming account of a little-known interval of colonial background. Drawing on new fabrics from French, Vietnamese and Cambodian files, it reconstructs a time in which France struggled to offer which means and substance to its Protectorate over Cambodia. The e-book specializes in these sitting at the limitations among the worlds of the colonizers and the colonized: indigenous interpreters, go-betweens, concubines and their metis youngsters, and marginal Europeans who did not model a formal colonial lifestyles - mauvais colonists - significantly Thomas Caraman. all of them constituted a problem to the colonial firm by way of muddling its social, cultural and racial obstacles. In its attention of the serious function performed by means of those teams, this e-book shifts clear of governor-generals, grand discourses and the easy view of colonialism as ''colonizers'' as opposed to ''colonized,'' to discover how issues truly labored themselves out at the flooring. It examines specifically the ''civilizing mission'' and academic projects; the gradual destruction of the indigenous justice process; the policing of sexual family among colonizers and colonized; the robbery of Cambodian land and taxes by way of the colonizing energy; and the brutal repression of resistance at any place and every time it seemed. total, Cambodia's undesirable Frenchmen finds the an important position performed by means of indigenous middlemen and marginal Europeans within the upward push of the colonial nation, and tells the interesting story of a Frenchman who got here to symbolize every little thing that the colonial kingdom dreaded.

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Additional resources for Colonial Cambodia's 'Bad Frenchmen': The rise of French rule and the life of Thomas Caraman, 1840-87

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71 He made contact with a number of residents to learn from their experience and had begun to collect photographs of the colony’s major sights. His dictionary of local medicinal herbs was making progress, he wrote, and so were his preliminary studies in the region’s geology. 72 Caraman had also learned some less encouraging news. In his first contacts with local European merchants, he often found them filled with apprehension and uncertainty. When no officer was nearby, some of them complained bitterly about the naval government, which they found to be unsupportive, or openly hostile, to their business ventures and to the development of the local economy.

He was important not only in his role as mediator between the Vietnamese and the French colonial worlds, but as living proof that the introduction of French language and culture in Cochinchina would produce beneficial results. People like Ky served as examples to the French that the colonial process would eventually lead to the local population’s assimilation of French language and laws, and of a French way of living. 63 Somewhere among the listeners, a brooding young man followed the society’s proceedings with particular attention.

The life of a low-ranking officer had become less heroic, with less of an opportunity to excel in combat than to prove leadership in managing the intricacies of daily life in the barracks. ”11 It is in this latter activity that Michel found his vocation. 12 Even before his marriage, Michel’s career seemed to have reached an impasse. For some ten years, his advance through the military hierarchy had been painfully slow. Soon after finally being promoted to lieutenant, he changed his affiliation to the Gendarmerie, the French army division responsible for public order and the repression of crime in a country where the police force was weak and with little influence beyond Paris and some larger cities.

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