This article explores the role of Vietnamese midwives who introduced French practices of childbirth, hygiene, and infant care to Vietnamese women and their progeny. It traces the professional and social life of colonial midwives, highlighting their difficult relationship with French doctors, their contestation of racial and gender discriminations at work, and their medical mission in rural communities, and describes how they reconciled the tension between their modernizing role and their identity as Vietnamese women. Through an investigation of these medical agents' activities, this study suggests that the midwives' commitment to professional duties might embody another way for Vietnamese women to be modern during the colonial period.

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