The Digitization of the Archives of the Lyon Sino-French Institute 里昂中法大學 – Opportunities, Risks and Ghosts. 2017/2018 School of Chinese Public Lecture Series

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


The Institut franco-chinois de Lyon (Lyon Sino-French Institute, hereafter IFCL), a constituent part of the then University of Lyon, was an institution dedicated to the education and welfare of students from China. Its stated purpose was to mentor Chinese students and ensure their integration into the French higher education system. Subsequent to the unhappy experience of the Chinese Study-Work movement in France, the IFCL project was initiated by important intellectual figures from the Chinese “New Culture Movement” including Cai Yuanpei 蔡元培 (1868-1940), Li Shizeng 李石曾 (1881-1973) and Wu Zhihui 吳稚暉 (1865-1953). Founded in 1921, the Institute hosted 473 students during the twenty-five years of its existence. After their studies in France, graduates returned to China to provide the skilled intellectuals China lacked. At least a quarter of them obtained a doctorate. Many of them had outstanding careers as writers, artists, scientists, jurists, university professors or politicians, and made a considerable contribution to the advancement of the Chinese nation-state and its modern intellectual and epistemological landscape. The Institute left an extensive collection of documents, which are now the property of Lyon’s Jean Moulin University (Université Jean Moulin-Lyon 3). The main technical goal of my project will be the organization, classification, digitization, storage, and production of online database of the archives. The resultant digitized research data will constitute the core object of this particular research project, and also provide essential data for further projects. The collection constitutes a unique example of the cultural and scientific dimensions of the heritage of global modernity. Central to the project is the hypothesis that the Institute not only contributed to the development of the Chinese nation-state, but was was indeed also constitutive of the new national consciousness.
Period28 May 2018
Held atChinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Digital humanities
  • Sino-French
  • France
  • Lyon