Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (9): 1695-1701.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201709013

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Reconstructing Xu Xiake: The Scientific Geography of China, 1912-1949

Lei ZHANG()   

  1. Department of History, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China
  • Received:2017-04-05 Revised:2017-06-25 Online:2017-09-30 Published:2017-09-30


Xu Xiake (1587-1641), born in an elite family in the region south of the Yangtze River, was a traveler in the Ming Dynasty. His travelogue extensively documented Southwest China's landscape and culture. Yet, Xu's reputation and writings remained less known to the general public throughout the Qing Dynasty. His geographical works were popularized in the writings of Chinese geologist Ding Wenjiang, and Department of History and Geography at Zhejiang University in the early 20th century. They employed scientism to mold their townsman Xu Xiake into a modern geographer with scientific spirits and methodology. By doing so, they implemented Western methodology to the Chinese context and ushered a paradigmatic shift in modern Chinese geography.

Key words: Republic Period, Xu Xiake, Ding Wenjiang, Zhejiang University, history of geography