This paper was prepared to review the study of Chinese environmental history written by Korean scholars from a perspective of history of historiography. Environmental history research strongly criticizes current history, but at the same time, environmental history can contribute to making history more like history. I thought so on the following three points.
First, China's environmental history aims for a total history. To this end, an integrated understanding of conflicting issues such as development and environment, and material culture and mental culture is being attempted. It is also trying to understand transnational history beyond national history through disaster and climate history research. Such an integrated understanding of history can have important significance in that it reflects on the history of development and the history of looking only positively at the spread of material civilization.
Second, in the study of Chinese environmental history by Korean historians, it was difficult to see the deterministic view that environment and climate change determine history. Looking at historical research on disasters and relief, the process of overcoming and responding to disasters was mainly studied by researchers. It was found that climate change did not affect only one direction. For example, during the Little Ice Age, the fishery resources of the sea became rather abundant, filling the stomachs of the hungry people of that period. In addition, through the study of Manchuria, the Qing Dynasty's border area, it was found that the ecological environment of the border area was not just natural, but also an imperial border area formed by the imperial strategy and domination intention. In other words, a new perspective on the empire's ruling system was presented through environmental history.
Third, the reason why environmental history research can have a new perspective can be found in that it is introducing new protagonists in history in nature, not humans. Various main characters, including pathogens, trees, animals, and climate, appeared as the main characters of Chinese environmental history research. As such, the higher the understanding of things other than humans, that is, nature, the richer the understanding of human history.