PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (3): 332-345.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.03.004

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Feminist views on geography and its role in disciplinary intellectual history

Jun SUN1(), Maolin TANG2, Yujun PAN1, Youde WU1   

  1. 1. School of Tourism and Geographical Sciences, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming 650500, China
    2. School of Geographical Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2018-02-23 Revised:2019-01-09 Online:2019-03-28 Published:2019-03-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41071105, 41671148 and 41761037;National Social Science Foundation of China, No. 16ZDA041 and 17FZS047.


Since the 1970s, the issue of gender has overlapped with the flowering of humanistic/Marxist/structuralist geographies and subsequent post-colonial/post-human/post-humanistic geographies. Furthermore, it has been increasingly foregrounded in geography. This article traces the connections between gender, discipline, and intellective history from a critical perspective. It discusses how critical and multiple voices in geography have not only developed critical discourses that made women visible as "objects" within and beyond geography, but also shared a commitment to situating knowledge, highlighted the myth of objective and value-free research, and emphasized the partial, context-specific, and interpretive nature of knowledge production in geography. Because of these, feminist geographies should not be seen solely as a separate sub-discipline, but as a critical perspective useful to all sub-disciplines in geography. "Women" was placed in the transitional zone of simultaneously gendered and hierarchical dualisms from nature/matter sensibility to spirit/culture reason in mainstream social thoughts. Thus, critical reflections on ontology, epistemology, and methodology from a gender perspective make feminist geographies visible to many post-modern approaches in (human) geography, and post-human/ethnical/indigenous/post-humanistic/post-colonial geographies were some of the sub-disciplines that chose to engage with feminist geographies. Finally, western feminist geographies help illuminate that, if feminist geographies in China can enhance their role within and beyond geography, they must be used in Chinese historical and current social and cultural contexts. These contexts must be examined from a gender perspective, preferably at present.

Key words: dualisms, nature metaphors, decentration, feminist geographies, views on geography, intellectual history