Departmental Bulletin Paper The Origins of Modern Geology in China: The Work of D. J. Macgowan and R. Pumpelly

Takegami, Mariko

46pp.179 - 197 , 2016-03 , Institute for Research in Humanities Kyoto University
This paper aims to investigate the origins of modern geology in China. Although modern Western geology was introduced to China in the middle of the nineteenth century, this does not necessarily indicate that geology was literally "imported" into China. Due to pride in China's cultural and historical traditions, translators often influenced or altered their interpretations of geological theory from the West. Moreover, nationalistic inclinations among contemporary Chinese intellectuals inevitably influenced geological research concerning Chinese territory. Considering these circumstances, herein the contributions of two Americans, D. J. Macgowan and R. Pumpelly, are examined. The former was a co-translator of Lyell's Elements of Geology into Chinese, while the latter conducted the first geological surveys in China. Although they are not as well known as the Chinese geologists who founded "Chinese Geology" in the early twentieth century, they should be credited as the disseminators of modern geology in and on China. Some of their achievements, which were realized with help of Chinese intellectuals, were inherited by Chinese geologists of subsequent generations. Historical analyses of their works should shed light on the diversity of "Chinese Geology".

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