PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (8): 1296-1304.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2013.08.013

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

Regional study of geography and the approach of regional historical geography

XIONG Mei1,2   

  1. 1.Collage for Historical Environment and Socio-Economic Development in Northwest China, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China;
    2. School of History and Culture, ChinaWest Normal University, Nanchong 637009, China
  • Received:2012-12-01 Revised:2013-05-01 Online:2013-08-25 Published:2013-08-25

Abstract: The history of regional study of geography, as a process of constant review and improvement, has four stages: writing of regional chronicles, description and interpretation of regional differences, quantitative analysis of spatial relationship, and thorough analysis of social process. In fact, the setbacks and revitalizations of modern regional geography study reflect the process in which this discipline benefits from the applications and geographic perspectives of the knowledge and theories of other schools with different philosophical bases and makes breakthroughs in the staggering and isolated research field of traditional regional geography. In the meantime, regional historical geography follows the footsteps of regional study of geography. Oriented toward the objects, paradigms and methodologies of regional geography, regional historical geography gradually has developed the research fields such as: continuous geographic horizontal cross-section reconstruction, regional cultural landscape ecology, location and structure-function system research, and comprehensive studies of regional division, categorization and classification. Since 1970s, regional historical geography has learned to pay more attention to the study of history and culture from regional geography and has gradually moved into the contemporary historical geography "conception" stage. In the past thirty years, the scholars of historical geography in China have made some achievements in the fields of regional historical geography through learning the methodologies and paradigms from their counterparts. However, both the theoretical construction and case study in China are still lagging behind the West. The development of regional historical geography in China can't do without the basic principles and methods of regional geography. We should be oriented to the enlightenment of new regional geography: from traditional research with static descriptions into a thorough analysis of social, cultural and economic aspects, and gradually form a regional system with the integrations of the theories of physical geography, landscape science, regional science, spatial economics, and praxiology. Adhering to the concepts of "people", "place", and "system", we should strengthen the research on the influences of social structure and process on economic development, pay attention to operation process and mechanism of regional systems, understand the interactions among the regions, and make in-depth analysis on characteristics of specific regions. We need to be good at not only explaining natural phenomena with natural reasons and the social phenomena with social reasons, but also explaining the social phenomena with natural reasons and natural phenomena with social reasons. It is important to strengthen the communication between historical geography and regional geography and closely follow the international academic trends and the latest academic achievements.

Key words: approach, geography, regional historical geography, words: regional study