University of Hong Kong
In "Reflections on Exile," Edward Said describes the exilic experience as "the unhealable rift between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home" (137). Such a definition of the exilic state rests on the assumption of a convergence of the self and the native place. In other words, one can be exiled only from one's homeland, the land whose relation to the self is frequently conceived in root imagery. For example, in the same essay, Said speaks of exiles being "cut off from their roots, their land, their past" (140). A similar metaphor is found in Julio Cortazar's "The Fellowship of Exile" in which exile is said to mark "the end of contact with the leaves and trees, the end of a deep-rooted relationship with the land and the air" (173). This vegetal trope in turn gives rise to the common representation of exiles as uprooted, or déracinés in French. While this conception of the exilic experience is certainly widely shared by many who for various reasons cannot or will not return to their homeland, there exists also a different type of exile in which the place of exile is paradoxically the place called home. In this essay I will explore the latter, more unusual case, through an analysis of Sourires et larmes d'une jeunesse (1937), a work by the Francophone Vietnamese writer, Nguyen-Manh-Tuong. The book features the stories of a number of young expatriated Vietnamese characters who either opt to stay in France or return to Indochina after having spent an extended period in the métropole. During their home visits, these retour de France, as they were called during the colonial era, undergo a traumatic rupture with their culture of origin and their own people, resulting in a total estrangement from their former homeland.
The return narratives in Sourires, I argue, provide a classic illustration of the problem of self-alienation among the colonised incisively analysed by both Frantz Fanon and Albert Memmi. In Peau noire masques blancs for instance, Fanon notes how "Le Noir qui pendant quelque temps a vécu en France revient radicalement transformé... nous dirons que son phéno-type subit une mue définitive, absolue" (15) as the colonised sees himself ever more truly civilized (further away from his former "nativeness") in direct proportion to his assimilation of the mother country's culture. Hence, instead of creating a hybrid space in which indigenous and colonial cultures could engage each other dialogically, the retour de France in Sourires would rather seek a complete identification with the colonisers and a rejection of his Annamite self. It is the belief of the colonized, Memmi points out, that total assimilation would require the erasure of "his past, his traditions, in fact all his origins which have become ignominious" (122). Yet, any achieved resemblance with the colonisers, as part two of the essay shows, is jeopardised by the threat of mimicry. Besides being a subversive factor of colonial authority as Homi Bhabha demonstrates, mimicry also poses a serious menace to the "authentic," albeit acquired, "Frenchness" of the retour de France who believes that he has rid himself of all Vietnamese traits, hence his constant worry of "going native" again.
Sourires et larmes d'une jeunesse comprises eleven prose pieces and one poem. In the preface the author introduces his work as a series of "documents" that "étudient le drame d'une jeunesse qui se cherche" (9). Behind the seemingly disparate predicaments of the characters, we are told that there exists a unity among them, the unity of "souffrance, de la culture, du coeur où vibre l'amour de la France..." (10). The prose pieces are divided thematically into two groups. The first four narrate the experiences of four expatriated Vietnamese young men who chose to stay in France in spite of extreme material and psychological hardship. The protagonist in the first piece, entitled "Philosophie de septième étage," leads a lonely and materially deprived life in a tiny room in Paris, his sole companions being a carp and the sparrows outside his window, while the author of the diary in "Angoisse de la faim" is reduced to near starvation after he loses his job and is unable to find another. In the third piece, "Présence de la mort," the narrator relates the story of a Vietnamese student who works himself to exhaustion and lies dying in a French hospital. The fourth story, "Aux assises", is a plea to a tribunal by a Vietnamese who shoots his former French mother-in law after the latter forces her daughter to divorce him because she does not like having "un métèque" as a son-in-law (38). In the face of so much hardship, why would these characters want to stay in France? An explanation is provided by the student-protagonist in "Philosophie de septième étage" in his answer to the question as to why he refuses to return to Indochina: "Que voulez-vous que je fasse en Annam?" (11). No doubt he would have a much easier life back in Vietnam where fortune and fame await him, but none of these advantages, our young expatriate contends, could move him to return because of his "haine de la société annamite" (16). Indeed, he conceives such a strong dislike of his own people that he avoids the company of all his fellow compatriots in France: "Mes compatriotes, je ne les fréquente même pas. Leur suffisance, leur vanité, leur étroitesse d'esprit, de coeur et de culture m'effraient" (17). With the exception of the last essay, "Images de vie," the second group of the prose pieces are the return narratives of the French-educated Vietnamese. The theme of return is introduced in the fifth piece entitled "Séparation," composed as a farewell letter by a Vietnamese man to his French girl friend. In his letter, he explains that his decision to leave France for Vietnam was motivated by neither fame and fortune, nor by any sense of duty, but rather by the need of self-fulfilment: "Il m'importe de compléter ma vie, de l'achever sur les routes de l'intelligence et de la volonté. Telle est la véritable raison de mon retour en Orient" (62). The four texts following "Séparation" recount the trials and tribulations the retour de France face in their homeland, a land that has become a site of exile to them.
|Return of the native son|
The drama of the return of the native son unfolds in the sixth piece with the symbolically charged title "La Parabole de l'enfant prodigue." Instead of scenes of rejoicing that usually grace family reunion narratives, the homecoming of the prodigal son, a retour de France who had spent several years in the métropole, is evoked in most chilling and heart-rending of terms: "[La Maison] semble, sous le ciel noir et les arbres noirs, un vaste bloc de ténèbres qui palpite d'une vie étrange. Aucune lumière, aucune lueur: point d'espérance, point de consolation" (65). Indeed, no sooner does the feast prepared to celebrate his arrival start than the prodigal son engages in a violent dispute with his father that ends in tears and lamentations. The immediate cause of the quarrel is the father's suggestion that the prodigal son take a native wife and settle down in the village, a proposal immediately rejected by the young man who finds it impossible to "m'enraciner en ce coin de terre où je me sens mal à l'aise" (68). This estrangement from his kin starts the very moment our returnee crosses the threshold of the paternal abode, as he explains to his younger brother: "... dès que j'en [la maison] ai franchi le seuil, j'ai senti que les êtres et les choses qui y prospèrent ne me reconnaissent plus, pas plus que je ne les reconnais" (70). So radical is this rift that his home now appears to him as "une geôle, un enfer" (74) that weighs on him like "une Pierre tombale" (68) with its old traditions, habits and customs. The reason for his alienation is that he finds his homeland wanting in everything he needs. In this place of lack, the prodigal son feels like a total stranger among his people to whom, he declares to his brother, he is "un hôte de qui vous ne parlez pas le langage, ne comprenez pas les habitudes, ignorez les besoins" (73). For under his unchanged appearance, he is no longer what he used to be. Nothing of his former self remains: "Mon écorce corporelle reste dans une décevante identité. Mais au dedans de moi, rien ne subsiste de ce que je fus" (72). Were he forced to stay, it would mean death: "Ma détresse est infinie. Je meurs lentement"(73).
If the returnee seems to have lost all affective ties with his kin and culture, he, on the other hand, has found a real homeland in the métropole where from the very beginning he felt at home without any need of adjustment: "J'ignorais jusqu'à l'ombre d'un dépaysement. Je m'y suis retrouvé, je m'y suis reconnu" (72). To the prodigal son, France is the promised-land, a place where he could breathe "un air de liberté, de spiritualité, de gaité, de tolérance, de finesse, de profondeur qui me grisait comme les souffles du large" (72). Having discovered his "terre d'élection," (72) our expatriate rapidly and painlessly unlearnt his former ways so as to espouse those of his "patrie adoptée, la seule que reconnaisse mon coeur et qu'admette mon intelligence" (72). In a short span of time, the prodigal son has acquired "une âme nouvelle" in the new world where, he confides to his brother, "j'oublie jusqu'au souvenir de mon enfance" (68). Given this definitive and absolute mutation of his phenotype, to use a Fanonian image, it is not surprising that the parable ends with the prodigal son departing his native land for ever. His homecoming turns out to be a final leave-taking of his past.
If the readers wonder at the reasons for such a sweeping cultural conversion, an explanation is provided in the penultimate essay "Solitude," whose title refers not to the condition of the Vietnamese expatriates in France, but to the isolation surrounding the retour de France upon their return to the Vietnamese society. According to Nguyen-Manh-Tuong, what characterises the generation that came of age in the 1920s is a complete rupture with their elders as they have neither memory of a Confucian past nor knowledge of the history of Annam. Because of their education in the French lycée, these young Vietnamese believe in "avoir pour ancêtres des Gaulois aux cheveux blonds" (103). As a result, this generation "parlait, pensait, sentait en français. Elle n'est restée annamite que par le milieu où elle vivait" (103). After high school, they continued their studies in the métropole where they underwent a cultural baptism the end result of which is that "Désormais, elle [la génération] n'a plus d'annamite que son origine et son écorce corporelle. Le reste est français. Français les rouages de son esprit et de son coeur, françaises, ses réactions devant les êtres et les choses, française enfin sa conception de la vie intellectuelle, sociale, sentimentale, bref, de la vie humaine" (104). Having thus become so thoroughly French, there is little wonder that these retour de France experience only incomprehension and loneliness in their former homeland. Indeed, bitter disappointment awaits them the moment they disembark on their native soil where they encounter hostility from every quarter: from a society that fails to appreciate their true worth to Confucian-educated parents who are incapable of understanding their Frenchified progeny who "charrient l'Occident dans leur sang" (108). The result is, the author sadly concludes, an irremediable "crise de solitude" of the Annamite youth who are totally "étrangère" to their families and kin (110).
|Fear of going native|
In the concluding part of the essay "Solitude," we are told apropos the retour de France that in them "Un être nouveau est né: il n'a d'oriental que l'origine, le nom, le corps. Par ailleurs, il est occidental, mieux encore, français" (109). In other words, these French-educated Vietnamese have nothing Vietnamese about them anymore except name and appearance for they have, in fact, become French in every other aspect of their lives. Yet, and this is the most paradoxical aspect of Nguyen-Manh-Tuong's narrative, we read that the deepest worry of the returnees is their possible reversion to their native self. This fear of "going native" is the central theme of the chapter entitled "Appréhensions," composed as a letter of a retour de France to his French friend as a response to the latter's question: "Es-tu resté le même?" (79). In his reply, the narrator expresses his apprehension at the likely disintegration of his European self in the native milieu: "Quelles ne seront pas mes douleurs et mes révoltes en constatant la désagrégation de cet être à l'organisation duquel j'avais dépensé, durant mes dix années de France, tant d'attentive vigilance et de patiente culture" (80). Indeed, what our protagonist dreads most is a re-emergence within him of certain native traits, "éléments auxquels je voue une haine active" (80), traits that constitute what Bhabha describes as "a proliferation of inappropriate objects that ensure its [colonial appropriation] strategic failure" (86). Ironically, this speculation on the return of the repressed native self derives its currency from the racist notion of atavism, a view initially held by European colonialists who argued that no amount of Western education could ever transform the "natives" into truly "civilised" beings. Whatever Western ways the colonized acquired, they are at best skin-deep, a kind of veneer under which lurks the old native core. The suspicion that such might be his own lot deeply troubles our retour de France who confides this fear to his friend: "Quoi, tant de volonté, tant d'intelligence, tant de méthode ne serviront de rien et vais-je me retrouver tel que je fus avant que je décidasse de me reconstruire sur de nouvelles bases? La nature revivra-t-elle sous la culture, pareille à la couleur initiale d'une étoffe qui réapparait sous la teinture nouvelle dont le temps a détruit l'influence?" (90). Indeed, should he fall victim to such an atavistic impulse that would transform him back into "un docile serviteur des traditions et des préjugés incompréhensibles qui viennent du fond lointain des âges," it would mean certain death: "Ah! Qu'il est effrayant de se sentir mourir à soi-même!..." (86). Underlying the returnee's unease is the fear that in spite of all his efforts at assimilation he turns out to be no more than that "reformed Other" of colonial discourse, "a subject of a difference that is almost the same, but not quite" (Bhabha 86).
As a way to reassure his friend and himself that he has managed to fend off the return of the repressed, the protagonist relates a few anecdotes to show that he still adheres to European standards and beliefs even in the native milieu. To this end, our retour de France, knowingly or not, adopts the colonial gaze toward his own people and culture. Hence, we learn that it was in Europe that the narrator had acquired the notion of human dignity. This precious lesson explains why he feels shock and indignation at the sight of a rickshaw, an Asian means of transportation that lowers its human conductor to the level of beast of burden, and at the overcrowded condition of native buses whose human passengers appear to him as so much cattle. If human dignity is so hard to come by in the Orient, it is, the narrator laments, due to the "abondance de la matière humaine" that greatly reduces its worth. To make his point, he cites the presence of the "foule grouillante" in all native villages (83). By describing his own people with the expression "swarming crowd," an image used ubiquitously by Europeans to speak of Asian crowds, the returnee-protagonist is in fact looking at his people through the Western lens.
Another way the protagonist uses to prove that he is not a native is to present himself as an outsider to the local community. In his letter, he complains of all the maladjustment he experiences in his own home. For example, nothing of his room's décor is to his liking. If he were in France, he would never have agreed to live in a place that was not arranged according to his taste. Worse still is the absence of all privacy in the local house design that makes no allowances for individual space. Indeed, he tells his friend that if an individual wants to shield himself from his family's intrusion, it is necessary to "s'abstraire ainsi du milieu où il vit et se créer un désert moral où il cache jalousement sa personalité aux investigations indiscrètes d'autrui" (85).
After the long list of complaints, our returnee concludes his missive by promising his friend that he will keep up the fight to preserve his European self and to that end he will always remain vigilant vis-à-vis his surroundings: "Je me méfie de tout, de l'air que je respire, de la nourriture que je prends, des sourires qui me sont addressés..." (86). In this struggle for self-preservation, the protagonist can resort to two powerful weapons, literature and music, that would allow him to create for himself "une atmosphère d'Europe où je me délecte à vivre" (87). The protagonist's embracing of Western literature and music to the exclusion of all "native" cultural practices serves to underline both his total Europeanisation and his non-nativeness. In contrast to other Vietnamese writers that deal with the cultural quandary of the retour de France or the experience of exile, the return narratives in Sourires contain not a single allusion to Vietnamese texts and names. All cultural references are exclusively to European sources such as Beethoven, Schubert, Shakespeare, Descartes, Racine, Pascal, Claudel, and Giraudoux.
We have noted earlier that for many of the contemporary postcolonial writers, one of the most unbearable aspects of exile is the feeling of being uprooted from one's homeland. Yet, in Sourires it is paradoxically in their native place that the characters experience exile as there is no more convergence between the self and home. In a piece with the significant title of "Déracinement?", Nguyen-Manh-Tuong addresses the issue of uprootedness. At the time of its writing, many of the retour de France were criticised for being déracinés i.e. cut off from their ancestral roots and becoming dis-oriented (in both senses of the word). This notion that a person can become déraciné was popularised by the novel of the same name by Maurice Barrès. The author of Sourires argues against such a view on the ground that "l'homme n'a pas de racines: il a des pieds" (93), hence he cannot be "déraciné." In any case, "déracinement" cannot exist in the domain of culture since culture is a "vaste franc-maçonnerie" (96) that encompasses everyone. Indeed, Nguyen-Manh-Tuong has nothing but the highest praise for the French mission civilisatrice which "a conçu l'admirable ambition d'unir tous les habitants de l'Empire--, citoyens ou sujets--, par les liens de la culture. Il est à son honneur d'avoir osé croire à l'identité de l'homme et à l'unité de l'esprit, quelles que soient les divergences ethniques" (97).
Yet, can such a unity and identity among men exist that would transcend racial and ethnic differences? The answer seems to be a negative one, even according to the prodigal son himself who has this to say to his brother when asked whether he will find happiness in France: "Non, hélas. Je ne rencontrerai pas le bonheur. Parce que là-bas... les gens s'aperçoivent que je ne suis pas né sous le même ciel qu'eux, que si je parle leur langage, vis leur vie, pense leurs idées, sens leurs sentiments, il n'en reste pas moins vrai que j'appartiens à une autre race.... Je porte sur moi éternellement mon origine et crois moi, il y a des gens qui le remarquent.... Et cela suffit pour me rendre malheureux" (76). Thus, no matter how thoroughly French these Vietnamese think they have become, they are never accepted as such by the French. Indeed, some of the severest critics of Westernized Vietnamese are the French colonialists who are most troubled by what they see as the Vietnamese's "aping" of European ways. In L'Annamite (1932), Albert de Pouvourville, an old Indochina hand, expresses the strongest reservation about providing French education to the Vietnamese who, in their "imitation, irraisonée et simiesque, des habitudes, des idées ... et des paroles françaises" (43) might harbor dangerous illusions about their capacities. Furthermore, the yellow people, Pouvourville contends, can never become truly French because of their atavism: "Il s'agit de les (les Jaunes) réveiller et de les pousser en avant sur le chemin de leurs traditions, mais pas du tout de les faire bifurquer sur le chemin de nos traditions blanches et de notre civilisation occidentale auxquelles leur atavisme ne les a pas préparés, et où ils seront toujours, malgré leurs efforts, insuffisants et incomplets" (102).
If we compare the exilic condition of those who have a place (however elusive and imaginary) they can call home to that of the retour de France in Sourires who feel exiled in their own native land, the latter seems to be a much more dire predicament. Their homeland, if it can be so called, is a mythical French culture that was elaborated by the Third Republic in its effort to construct a certain national "Frenchness" and propagated by the mission civilisatrice to the furthest corners of the empire. In fact, the French civilization that the protagonists in Sourires speak about so admiringly is the very one they constructed from their French schoolbooks. In Peasants into Frenchmen, Eugen Weber details for us the different social, political, economic and educational mechanisms that the Third Republic put in place in their effort to fashion a French identity. One such highly effective means is the public school that teaches French children not only to recite the line "nos ancêtres les Gaulois," but also how to speak French since as late as 1863 a fifth of the population did not know the language. It is indeed interesting that among the loci memoriae in Pierre Nora's multi-volume Realms of Memory selected for their significant contribution to the construction of French identity, we find two sets of schoolbooks that were widely used during the Third Republic, Le Tour de la France par deux enfants and the history textbooks written by Ernest Lavisse whom Nora describes as "The Nation's Teacher". Within the colonial scheme of things, even if a small native elite, to which belong the Retour de France, was taught, like all French schoolchildren, to recite the in/famous line "nos ancêtres les Gaulois," these imaginary ancestral ties can never entitle the colonial subjects to reclaim the French mère-patrie as their homeland.
For many contemporary postcolonial writers such as Salman Rushdie, one defining characteristic of the postcolonial "homelands" is the marker of plurality. In his "Imaginary Homelands," Rushdie states that, along with other British Indian writers, he can claim as ancestors "the Huguenots, the Irish, [and] the Jews" and count among their literary forebears "Swift, Conrad, Marx," as well as "Tagore and Ram Mohan Roy" (20). Indeed, one facet of the postcolonial condition is the belonging, in the words of Stuart Hall, "at one and the same time to several 'homes' (and to no one particular 'home')" (310). Obviously, the possibility of inhabiting different homes and straddling multiple cultures does not seem to be an option to the protagonists of Nguyen-Manh-Toung who feel that they have to cast their lot with the colonisers while knowing full well that they will not find acceptance by them. Hence, if for Said an exile is "anyone prevented from returning home," (143) the retour de France in Sourires are exiles who have no home to return to.
 Nguyen-Manh-Toung was born in 1909 in Indochina and died on June 13, 1997 in Hawai. He did his doctoral dissertations at the Université de Montpellier in the early 1930s. Besides Sourires et larmes d'une jeunesse which was composed over the period of 1927 to 1937, his other publications include Construction de l'Orient (1937), an essay entitled "Confidences d'un jeune annamite" in the monograph Témoignages (1941) which was prefaced by the former emperor Bao-Dai, a three-act play Le Voyage et le sentiment (1943), an autobiography Excommunié: Hanoi, 1954-1991: procès d'un intellectuel (1992), a work on education from Erasmus to Rousseau (1994) and a work on Virgil and Aeschylus (1996).
 The term "hybridity" has acquired different and diverse meanings in colonial and postcolonial writings. For a detailed discussion, see Robert Young, Colonial Desire, in particular chapter one "Hybridity and Diaspora."
 Such an attitude of the protagonist stands indeed in strange contrast to other Vietnamese students in France of the time who were known to take an active part in anti-colonial nationalist organisations. For details of the activities of the Vietnamese expatriates in France during the interwar period, see Daniel Hemery, "Du patriotisme au marxisme: l'immigration viêtnamienne en France de 1926 à 1930."
 Such a view has been propagated in late nineteenth century by influential thinkers such as Gustave Le Bon. In The Psychology of Peoples, Le Bon makes exactly the same point when he argues that "A Negro or a Japanese may easily take a university degree or become a lawyer; the sort of varnish he thus acquires is however quite superficial, and has no influence on his mental constitution" (37 emphasis added).
 I am thinking for example of Pham Van Ky's Frères de sang in which the main character, a retour de France, also experiences a similar cultural estrangement, in particular from his father who is made to represent Confucian obscurantism. Yet, in the novel, the protagonist engages in a well-informed and critical dialogue with Vietnamese cultural values and practices. Other examples that deal with exile are Le Huu Tho's Itinéraire d'un petit mandarin and Nhat-Linh's Broken Journey: Nhat-Linh's 'Going to France' . Both works (the former written in French and the latter in Vietnamese) recount the experience of exile of their authors in France. In both narratives, the presence of the Vietnamese homeland and people plays a major role in helping the narrators to navigate in the land of the colonisers.
 Maurice Barrès, Les Déracinés (1897).
 Pouvourville is but one among many to express such views. The same concern has been voiced by Francis Vial in Le Problème humain de l'Indochine and Georges Hardy in several of his writings on the pedagogic policy in West Africa and Morocco. See Hardy's Une Conquête morale. L'enseignement en A.O.F and Nos grands problèmes coloniaux.
 Weber, p.310.
Barrès, Maurice. Les Déracinés. Paris: Plon, 1897.
Bhabha, Homi. "Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse" in The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1994, pp.85-92.
Cortazar, Julio. "The Fellowship of Exile" in Marc Robinson (ed.). Altogether Elsewhere: Writers on Exile. Boston: Faber & Faber, 1994, pp. 171-178.
Fanon, Frantz. Peau noire masques blancs. Paris: Seuil, 1952.
Hall, Stuart. "The Question of Cultural Identity" in Stuart Hall, David Held & Tony McGrew (eds.). Modernity and Its Futures. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1992, pp. 273-325.
Hardy, Georges. Une Conquête morale. L'enseignement en A.O.F.. Paris: Armand Colin, 1917.
---. Nos grands problèmes coloniaux. Paris: Armand Colin, 1929.
Hemery, Daniel. "Du Patriotisme au marxisme: l'immigration vietnamienne en France de 1926 à 1930." Le Mouvement Social 90. Jan-Mar 1975, pp.3-54.
Le Huu Tho. Itinéraire d'un petit mandarin Juin 1940. Paris: L'Harmattan, 1997.
Le Bon, Gustave. Psychology of The Peoples. New York: Arno Press, 1974 (1894).
Memmi, Albert. The Colonizer and The Colonized. Boston: Bacon Press, 1965 (1957).
Nguyen-Manh-Tuong. Sourires et Larmes d'une jeunesse. Hanoi: Editions de la Revue Indochinoise, 1937.
Nhat-Linh. "Broken Journey: Nhat-Linh's 'Going To France'." Trans. Greg and Monique Lockhart with an introduction and commentary by Greg Lockhart. East Asian History 8 1994, pp. 73-134.
Nora, Pierre and Lawrence Kritzman (eds.). Realms of Memory. 3 vols. New York: Columbia UP, 1996.
Pham Van Ky. Frères de sang. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1947.
Pouvourville, Albert de. L'Annamite. Paris: Larose, 1932.
Rushdie, Salman. "Imaginary Homelands" in Imaginary Homelands Essays and Criticism 1981-1991. London: Granta Books, 1991, pp. 9-21.
Said, Edward. "Reflections on Exile" in Marc Robinson (ed.). Altogether Elsewhere: Writers on Exile. Boston: Faber & Faber, 1994, pp. 137-149.
Vial, Francis. Le Problème humain de l'Indochine. Paris: Librairie Delagrave, 1939.
Weber, Eugen. Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France 1870-1914. London: Chatto & Windus, 1977.
Young, Robert. Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race. London: Routledge, 1995.
Associate Professor Marie-Paule Ha teaches and does research in Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong. Her research interest is in gender and postcolonial studies. She is currently working on a project that examines the colonial experience of French women in Indochina. Her recent publications comprise a book : Figuring the East: Segalen, Malraux, Duras, and Barthes. SUNY, 2000 as well as Journal articles: "Durasie: Women, Natives, and Other" in Revisioning Duras: Film, Race, Sex. Ed. James S. Williams. University of Liverpool Press, 2000, pp.95-112; "Engendering French Colonial History: The Case of Indochina" Historical Reflections/Reflexions historiques 25.1 (1999), pp.95-125.