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Literature and censorship in a colonial environment: the case of Indochina (1887-1945)


Author: Keo, Phirith
Under the direction of: Corinne Flicker
Aix-Marseille University
Langue française Texte français

Keywords: Languages, Literatures and Civilizations, Indochina, Colonization, Indochina, French and Francophone literature, Freedom of expression, Censorship, French Colonies, Freedom of expression, Anti-imperialism in literature.


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Indochina is a territory of the former French colonial empire. It was founded in 1887 under the name of Indochinese Union and brought together three territories of Vietnam (Tonkin, Annam, Cochinchina), Cambodia and Laos, until Independence in 1954. The French administrators then took the necessary measures to prevent and censor literary texts of immoral or revolutionary character or questioning the colonial system. In order to stabilize the situation in Indochinese society, the colonizers set up a policy of rigorous control and surveillance. It presents the legal texts relating to the censorship exercised in Indochina and reconstructs the organization of the system of supervision of literary works. He distinguishes preventive censorship from repressive censorship : works censored before their release to the public and works censored after their release. This research also helps to analyze the causes of censorship and the measures implemented by the colonial authorities to maintain public order in Indochina.