Original Articles

Updated Progressand Perspectives of the Discipline of Human Geography in China

  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
    3. School of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China;
    4. School of Geography Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210046, China;
    5. School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China;
    6. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

Received date: 2011-03-01

  Revised date: 2011-06-01

  Online published: 2011-12-25


This paper focuses on the status quo, progress and future development prospects of human geography, particularly on its crucial and newly emerged subgroups including the theory of human-environment interactions, cultural geography, behavioral geography, social geography, and political geography. After comparing intensive literature review of both China and English-world scholars, we strongly believe that human geography in China has achieved fruitful results on its theoretical innovation, research methodology, technological innovation and practical application. Some conclusions can be drawn as follows. (1) By virtue of geographical thinking, the position and content of the theory of human-environment interactions has been greatly enhanced. (2) The scope of cultural geography has broadened, whose study direction is turning to New Cultural Geography. (3) Behavioral geography has aroused attention and generated many crucial results. (4) To meet the needs of geopolitical strategy, political geography resurges in the research and policy analysis circles. (5) Along with the construction of harmonious society, social geography is emerging as an important field. The general trends of Chinese human geography in future has to keep pace with Chinese social and economic development, be oriented to the national strategic needs, aimed at establishing a scientific development viewpoint with harmonious human-environment interactions, and solving new problems in national development with full strength. Meanwhile, it should deepen studies on the theory and research methods of human-environment interactions, strengthen the research on the regulation mechanism, process, pattern, rhythm, and the demonstration and application of the man-land system, and strengthen the research on systematical management and monitoring, dynamic simulation, and technique support system, and enhance the research on global problems, global change and its regional response in the evolution process of man-land system, and reinforce the research on human-oriented environmental ethics and ecological morality of man-land system. With the rapid development of the national cultural industry and the strategic requirement of cultural construction of a powerful country, we should strengthen the inter-disiciplinary research between cultural geography study and cultural industry promotion, and construct the subject system of cultural geography based on absorbing overseas advanced results. Meanwhile, the theoretical scope and depth of research on behavioral geography should be expanded, and the experimental study should be strengthened. Last but not the least, human geographers should pay attention to the research of New Geopolitics, urban political geography and local political geography, and promote the development of social geography based on the Sixth National Population Census Data. We did this research to promote a faster but sound and sustainable development of human geography in China.

Cite this article

FANG Chuanglin, ZHOU Shangyi, CHAI Yanwei, LU Yuqi, ZHU Hong, FENG Jian, LIU Yungang . Updated Progressand Perspectives of the Discipline of Human Geography in China[J]. PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY, 2011 , 30(12) : 1470 -1478 . DOI: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2011.12.002