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Environmental History and Garden History in China and the West: Problems, Methods and Responses

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This article examines why garden historians of the West and China have not placed gardens within wider environmental and ecological processes, and why environmental historians have largely overlooked private gardens. Explanations for this neglect may be found in different disciplinary foundations and motivations, methodologies and perspectives. I demonstrate the benefits of combining garden and environmental history by analysing a twelfth-century garden from China using an ecocultural approach, which examines the material and cultural, ecological and ideological aspects of a particular garden. From this case study I argue that an ecocultural approach offers one way of bridging the divide separating environmental history and garden history, and by extension that spanning material and cultural analyses of gardens and wider environments.
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Keywords: Chinese environmental history; Chinese gardens; Garden history; Genyue; environmental history; historiography; methodology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2019) of 0.698. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.806.
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