Published in Journal of Social History, Volume 43, Issue 3, Spring April 1, 2010, pages 587-613.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1353/jsh.0.0304.
From 1890–1956, non-governmental welfare agencies worked with the French colonial government in Indochina to remove Eurasian children, who had been abandoned by their French fathers, from their Vietnamese mothers and the Vietnamese cultural environment. In an era marked by historical exigencies, perceived threats to white prestige, and inherent challenges to the colonial patriarchy, such children were believed to be a threat to colonial security and white prestige. The racial formations of abandoned Eurasian children in colonial Indochina changed repeatedly in response to these threats. Drawing from the rhetoric of racial sciences and led by anxieties over changes colonial security, French civilians increasingly and colonial government administrators increasingly made the case that these children where white and must be removed from their Vietnamese mothers’ care, using force if necessary.