GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2011, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (11): 2109-2114.doi: 10.11821/yj2011110018

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On the new geographic perspectives and sentiment of high moral character of geographer Bai Meichu in modern China

WU Feng-ming   

  1. China National Committee for Terms in Sciences and Technologies, Beijing 100864, China
  • Received:2011-06-28 Revised:2011-08-23 Online:2011-11-20 Published:2011-11-20

Abstract: This essay is to explore the story of opening up new geographic perspectives, academic thoughts and sentiment of lofty moral character of Professor Bai Meichu, a geographer in modern China. Bai Meichu (1876-1940), geographer in modern China, was a teacher of Tianjin Zhili Women's Normal School, which is the predecessor of Hebei Normal University in the 1920-1930s. Then he became a professor of Beijing Women's Normal University and Beijing Normal University, and was engaged in the position of the Dean of the Geography Department of Beijing Normal University. Bai Meichu was studious and gifted since early childhood and became a Xiucai at the age of 15 before he attended the Jingsheng College. He devoted himself to intensive reading of Shan Hai Jing, Yu Gong, Han·Geography, Shui Jing Zhu, Xu Xia Ke You Ji and other ancient geographical books. In 1905, he attended the Beiyang Normal School and majored in geography, and was honored to be a Juren for his particularly prominent achievements. He was one of the initiators of China Geography Society in 1909, and became the Director of Editorial Board in 1913. He wrote some valuable manuscripts and historical data for earth sciences in China and acted as the editor-in-chief of Earth Sciences Journal for over 25 years. Bai Meichu was rich in writing all his life. Besides more than 10 professional papers published in Earth Sciences Journal, he had several influential books, including Province-wide Records over Republic of China (4,000,000 words), Construction Maps over Republic of China (32 maps), Reform Plans over Republic of China, Chinese National Humiliation Map, Refined Solutions on the Latest Material Construction, and China Human Geography (3 volumes). In 1913, he first proposed a new geographical concept: "Loving the nation is the top priority in learning geography, while building the nation is what learning geography for." He highlighted his innovative geographical ideas in his masterpiece Philosophy of Geography published in 1923. In this book, he expressed his ideas firmly as before about the properties of geography as natural sciences, and considered geography as a subject featured by macro-scope, time-effectiveness and social function. He also stressed various topics from the vision of man-land relationship".

Key words: Bai Meichu, geographer in modern China, Philosophy of Geography, modern geographic perspective