PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (8): 1542-1552.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2022.08.016

• Geographer • Previous Articles    

Geographical creation in turbulent times: Zhang Xiangwen's geoscience career and academic contributions

LIN Bingquan1,2(), YE Chao3,*()   

  1. 1. Department of Economics and Management, Party School of Jiangsu Provincial Committee of C.P.C., Nanjing 210009, China
    2. School of Urban and Regional Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    3. School of Geographical Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • Received:2022-02-16 Revised:2022-05-16 Online:2022-08-28 Published:2022-10-25
  • Contact: YE Chao;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871143)


Zhang Xiangwen was a pioneer geographer in modern China. In the turbulent period of the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China, he combined his academic pursuit with patriotism, and sought to serve the nation through geoscience discipline in the midst of his changing identities. His primary social identity as a geographer was intertwined with multiple identities such as revolutionist, historian, educator, and industrialist. Zhang Xiangwen's academic contributions include leading the establishment of the China Geoscience Society, which was the predecessor of the Geographical Society of China; the founding of the Journal of Geosciences, which was the first Chinese academic journal of geography; the proposal of the Qinling-Huaihe north-south geographical boundary; the creation and compilation of geography textbooks; and the active engagements in flood control research and field research. This article attempted to tease out Zhang Xiangwen's main activities, academic thoughts, and their practical implications by extensive data comparison. It is argued that open mindedness and professionalism, outstanding organizational leadership, and active participation in solving practical and societal issues led to Zhang Xiangwen's pioneering work, which still has significance for the development of geographers and academic community nowadays.

Key words: Zhang Xiangwen, Chinese Geographical Society, identity transformation, academic contribution