From the “Silk Road” to “Inner Asia Frontiers”: Geography, History and China

Time:  2018.06.26  15:00-17:00

Speaker: Tang Xiaofeng (Professor of Research Institute for Historical Geography, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University)

Moderator: Yin Ji’nan (Professor, Dean of the School of Humanities of CAFA)

Venue: OCAT Institute, Jinchanxilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing (100 meters north from Subway Line 7 Happy Valley Scenic Area Station Exit B)

In the mid-19th century, German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen came to China for a four-year field study. After returning home, he published China: The results of My Travels and the Studies Based Thereon on the basis of this study and coined the term "Silk Road." At the beginning of the 20th century, American Sinologist Lattimore came to China as a political adviser to Chiang Kai-shek, and he took opportunity to complete his famous book Inner Asian Frontiers of China after field trips to Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and the other places in Northeast China.  Whether it is Richthofen’s “Silk Road” or Lattimore “Inner Asian Frontier,” they both derive from field experiences, from the two scholars’ physical measurement and deep thinking about geography and history, which provide different academic and political perspectives for us to reexamine the geography and history of China. These thoughts and discourses seemed to be especially meaningful in today’s context, with the implementation of the “Belt and Road” initiative and the complex international geopolitical changes. The question is whether there is a hidden connection between Richthofen and Lattimore. If so, what does it mean for us to reshape our new Chinese identity?


On the occasion of this exhibition, we invite Professor Tang Xiaofeng (Peking University) and also the translator of Lattimore’s Inner Asian Frontiers of China to give a special speech and answer on relevant questions. At the same time, we have also invited Professor Yin Jinan (Dean of the School of Humanities at the Central Academy of Fine Arts) as the moderator and guest of the lecture.