• Yannan Ding


In this introduction I highlight the need and value of a historical geographical understanding of China’s recent urbanization. To that end, a brief review of urban historical geographical studies on China is drawn up, which helps to disperse the seeming irrelevance of historical geography in contemporary urban development. It is further elucidated that, quite on the contrary, historical geography of the city is intentionally downplayed in the current mode of development in China. This introduction then continues to briefly introduce the chapters in this edited volume. A book like this is not meant to be a route map or operational manual, but rather a text that connects the past with the present of the Chinese city.


  1. Bianco, L. (2001). Peasants Without the Party: Grass-Roots Movements in Twentieth-Century China. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  2. Bianco, L. (2009). Wretched Rebels: Rural Disturbances on the Eve of the Chinese Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center.Google Scholar
  3. Boone, M. (2012). Cities in Late Medieval Europe: The Promise and Curse of Modernity. Urban History, 39(2), 329–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Esherick, J. W. (Ed.). (2000). Remaking the Chinese City: Modernity and National Identity, 1900–1950. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
  5. Faure, D. (2002). What Weber Did Not Know: Towns and Economic Development in Ming and Qing China. In D. Faure & T. T. Liu (Eds.), Town and Country in China: Identity and Perception (pp. 58–84). New York: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Friedmann, J. (2005). China’s Urban Transition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  7. Guldin, G. E., & Southall, A. (Eds.). (1993). Urban Anthropology in China. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  8. Hou, R. (1979). The Study of Urban Historical Geography and City Planning. Acta Geographica Sinica, 34(4), 315–328. [in Chinese].Google Scholar
  9. Lewis, A. J. (1973). Man in Nature: Peter Brueghel and Shakespeare. Art Journal, 32(4), 405–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Liu, W. (2014). Research in Human Geography: Getting Closer to Society, Industry and the State. Asian Geographer, 31(2), 161–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mote, F. W. (1977). The Transformation of Nanking, 1350–1400. In G. W. Skinner (Ed.), The City in Late Imperial China (pp. 101–154). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Murphey, R. (1954). The City as a Center of Change: Western Europe and China. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 44(4), 349–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Murphey, R. (1974). The Treaty Ports and China’s Modernization. In M. Elvin & G. Skinner (Eds.), The Chinese City Between Two Worlds (pp. 17–72). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Nicholas, D. (2012). The Urban Typologies of Henri Pirenne and Max Weber: Was There a “Medieval” City? In D. Nicholas, B. S. Bachrach, & J. M. Murray (Eds.), Comparative Perspectives on History and Historians: Essays in Memory of Bryce Lyon (1920–2007). Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute of Western Michigan University.Google Scholar
  15. Phelps, N. A., & Tewdwr-Jones, M. (2008). If Geography Is Anything, Maybe It’s Planning’s Alter Ego? Reflections on Policy Relevance in Two Disciplines Concerned with Place and Space. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 33(4), 566–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pirenne, H. (2014). Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Porras, S. (2011a). Producing the Vernacular: Antwerp, Cultural Archaeology and the Bruegelian Peasant. Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Arts, 3(1), 1–29.Google Scholar
  18. Porras, S. (2011b). Rural Memory, Pagan Idolatry: Pieter Bruegel’s Peasant Shrines. Art History, 34(3), 486–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rowe, W. (2017). Urban Agency in Early Modern and Modern China. Urban History, 44(1), 123–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Silver, L. (1996). Pieter Bruegel in the Capital of Capitalism. Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art/Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, 47(1), 124–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Stapleton, K. (2016). In Search of Frameworks for Productive Comparison of Cities in World History. Journal of Modern Chinese History, 10(2), 230–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Strand, D. (1995). Conclusion: Historical Perspectives. In D. S. Davis, R. Kraus, B. Naughton, & E. Perry (Eds.), Urban Spaces in Contemporary China: The Potential for Autonomy and Community in Post-Mao China (pp. 394–426). Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press.Google Scholar
  23. Tang, W. (2014). Governing by the State: A Study of Literature on Governing of Chinese Mega-Cities. In P. O. Berg & E. Bjoner (Eds.), Branding Chinese Mega-Cities: Policies, Practices and Positioning. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  24. Verhulst, A. (1999). The Rise of Cities in North-West Europe. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. White, M. J., Wu, F., & Chen, Y. P. (2008). Urbanization, Institutional Change, and Sociospatial Inequality in China, 1990–2001. In J. R. Logan (Ed.), Urban China in Transition (pp. 115–139). Oxford: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wu, F. (Ed.). (2007). China’s Emerging Cities: The Making of New Urbanism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Wu, F. (2015). Planning for Growth: Urban and Regional Planning in China. New York; London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Zagorin, P. (2003). Looking for Pieter Bruegel. Journal of the History of Ideas, 64(1), 73–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yannan Ding
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Chinese Historical Geography, Fudan UniversityShanghaiP. R. China

Personalised recommendations