This article examines the controversy elicited by the visit of two Western feminists—Camille Drevet of France and Edith Pye of Great Britain—to French Indochina in 1927. Traveling as delegates of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and as guests of the Annamite Constitutionalist Party, Drevet and Pye challenged French male colonists whose vision of modern colonial governance rested on a defense of tradition and the presumed benefits of paternalistic guardianship over indigenous men and all women. Concerns regarding modern womanhood and an incipient Vietnamese youth revolt led French male colonists to denounce the threat that women's emancipation posed to Indochina. Vietnamese radicals were inspired by the WILPF visit, understanding that arguments to liberate women and the nation both rested on opposition to paternalistic subordination. The WILPF delegates emerged from the trip firmly opposed to colonialism; nonetheless, they struggled to articulate an explicitly feminist anti-imperialist agenda linking female and colonial subservience.

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