Pierre Brocheux – A Celebrated Vietnamese-French Historian

Professor Pierre Brocheux, famous historian, is a Vietnamese-Frenchman. He was born in Saigon in 1931. His father was a Frenchman who settled in Indochina in 1929, and his mother came from a Vietnamese family, naturalized in France during the colonial period.

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Pierre Brocheux - A Celebrated Vietnamese-French Historian
According to Professor Trinh Van Thao, Professor Pierre Brocheux is one of three outstanding students of historian Jean Chesneaux, marking the golden age of Vietnamese studies in France.

There is information that Professor Pierre Brocheux’s mother has the surname Truong, from Phan Thiet (present-day Binh Thuan), and his father is French in Normandy. Pierre Brocheux went to France after World War II and did a master’s degree at the Sorbonne University (Paris), then returned to Saigon to teach at a French high school.

After that, he returned to France to defend his doctoral thesis and continued his teaching career. He is considered one of the leading experts on Vietnamese history.

Phung Ngoc Khoa said: “Two years ago, when I first met him, I didn’t expect that with the French name, his face had many Vietnamese features. Hanoi intellectuals have known him for a long time.

For those who do not know him, it is not too late to refer to Indochine, la colonization ambigu 1858-1954 or Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization, 1858-1954. In my opinion, this is one of the best books about Vietnamese history at that time.”

Information from Omega Plus Books revealed: “Professor Pierre Brocheux studied from primary to high school in a French school in Vietnam, which is a mixture of different races, cultures and languages.

Not only having a childhood associated with the locality, when growing up, the professor also participated in social activities and experienced a number of important historical events such as attending two large demonstrations demanding independence for Vietnam by opposing political forces. Later, he went to Paris to study for a bachelor’s and a doctorate in history at the Sorbonne University.”

Professor Pierre Brocheux became one of the first to teach Vietnamese studies at the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations (LCAO) of Paris Diderot University.

Born in Vietnam and witnessed many historical changes in this land, it inspired Pierre Brocheux to accompany Vietnamese studies in France from the first days in the post-colonial period.

In the world of historians, Professor Pierre Brocheux is famous for his prestigious research works. According to Professor Trinh Van Thao, Professor Pierre Brocheux is one of three outstanding students of historian Jean Chesneaux, marking the golden age of Vietnamese studies in France.

He is also one of the leading historians of the modern Vietnamese history research group at Paris Diderot University since its founding.

Pierre Brocheux - A Celebrated Vietnamese-French Historian
Paris Diderot University, where Professor Pierre Brocheux was one of the first to teach about Vietnam at the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations (LCAO). Photo: Thuy Phuong
Pierre Brocheux - A Celebrated Vietnamese-French Historian
Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization, 1858-1954. Photo: The Gioi Publishers

“With a thickness of nearly 700 pages, Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization, 1858-1954 meets the reader’s need to understand many aspects of a colonial society. It is not only about long-term resistance wars, but also about cultural and socio-economic changes that have gradually changed a feudal society that has existed for thousands of years.

The Appendix can help historical researchers, with statistics, specific data on investment in Indochina, equity capital raised by Indochina companies during 60 years (1880 – 1940),” researcher Le Nguyen talks about the book Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization, 1858-1954 by author Pierre Brocheux published in Vietnam.

Pierre Brocheux - A Celebrated Vietnamese-French Historian
Professor Pierre Brocheux (right) and historian Daniel Hémery. Photo: T.L

The cremation of world-famous historian Pierre Brocheux is scheduled to take place on January 2, 2023 at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in France.

Rosie Nguyen