Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng 章學誠 (T. 實齋, H. 少巖 original ming 文斆), 1738-1801, scholar, was a native of K'uai-chi (part of present Shaohsing), Chekiang. After 1751 he lived with his family at Ying-ch'êng, Hupeh, where his father, Chang Piao 章鑣, (T. 驤衢, H. 雙渠, 勵堂, chin-shih of 1742, d. 1768), served as district magistrate. In his youth Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng was in delicate health and of retarded mental development. In 1756 when he was nineteen sui his father relinquished his official post and later was forced to make amends for faults committed during his term in office. Thereafter the family was too poor to return to the ancestral home. However in 1760 Chang Piao obtained the directorship of an academy at Ying-ch'êng, and Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng was thus enabled to pursue his studies at the capital. Two years later he became a student at the Imperial Academy, where he remained for nine years. In 1764 he visited T'ien-mên, Hupeh, where his father was director of an Academy and compiler of the local history, 天門縣志 T'ien-mên hsien-chih, completed in 1765 in 24 chüan. Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng wrote an essay for this gazetteer, entitled 修志十議 Hsiu-chih shih-i, or "Ten Points on the Writing of Gazetteers," in which he laid down many of the principles he later advocated. In the following year he returned to the Imperial Academy, where he excelled in history but failed in literature. Thus he could not then qualify in the provincial examinations. In order to become proficient as a writer he lived during the years 1766-68 at the residence of Chu Yün [q.v.]. At the Shun-t'ien provincial examination of 1768 he wrote an excellent essay concerning the compilation of a gazetteer of the Imperial Academy. Though he failed in this examination, his talent as an historian came to be recognized by Chu Fên-yüan 朱棻元 (T. 雨森, H. 青浦, 1727-1782), tutor in the Imperial Academy. Late in 1768 his father died leaving Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng responsible for the family, though he was too poor to perform the funeral rites. However, with financial assistance from Fêng T'ing-ch'êng, (see under Wang Chung), a friend of Chu Yün, he was able to make a bare living. Under the direction of Chu Fên-yüan and of Shih Ch'ao 侍朝 (T. 潞 [ 鷺 ] 川, 1729-1777), proctor of the Imperial Academy, he took a minor post (1769-71) in the compilation of the Gazetteer of the Imperial Academy, 國子監志 Kuo-tzŭ-chien chih, which was completed in 1778 in 63 chüan, but was revised in 1833-34 and printed in 1836 in 82 + 2 chüan. In 1769 he met Wang Hui-tsu [q.v.] with whom he remained on intimate terms until his death. Late in 1771 he, Shao Chin-han, Huang Ching-jên [qq.v.]and others were invited by Chu Yün to T'ai-p'ing, Anhwei, where the latter was serving as educational commissioner. During the years 1772-73 he twice visited Fêng T'ing-ch'êng, who then was intendant of the Ning-Shao-T'ai Circuit at Ningpo. There in 1773 he met Tai Chên [q.v.] whose writings had influenced him considerably, but with whom he now disagreed in matters of scholarship. In the spring of 1773 he obtained through Chu Yün the editorship of the local gazetteer of Ho-chou, Anhwei. This work, entitled 和州志 Ho-chou chih, was arranged under 42 categories, with an appendix entitled Ho-chou wên-chêng (文徵) 8 chüan. It is the first gazetteer in which Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng had an opportunity to apply his own theories, but because Chu Yün's successor, Ch'in Ch'ao 秦潮 (T. 步皋, chin-shih of 1766), took exception to the arrangement it was not printed. Thereupon Chang went to Ningpo, via his native place, looking for help from Fêng T'ing-ch'êng, But within a year Fêng was transferred to Formosa, and Chang went to Peking where he came into contact with many scholars of note who had congregated there for the compilation of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu (see under Chi Yün). In  1776 he was given the rank of archivist of the Imperial Academy, and during the succeeding three years was under the patronage of Chou Chên-jung 周震榮 (T. 青在, 筤谷, 1730-1792), who was assistant magistrate of Ch'ing-yüan and later (1777) became magistrate of Yung-ch'ing, Chihli. During this period Chang served as director of the Ting-wu (定武) Academy at Ting-chou (1777) and compiled a local gazetteer of Yung-ch'ing (1777-79). This work, entitled 永清縣志 Yung-ch'ing hsien-chih, 25 chüan, was published with supplements in 1813 a copy being in the Library of Congress.
Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng managed to obtain the degree of chü-jên in 1777 and of chin-shih in 1778, but failed to obtain official appointment. After residing for about a year (1779-80) with Liang Kuo-chih [q.v.] in Peking he went to Kaifeng, Honan, in search of a position, but failed, owing, it is said, to his contemptuous manner. On his way back to the capital he was robbed by highwaymen, not only of his personal effects but of the manuscript drafts on which he had worked for years. Clad only in a short garment, he sought refuge at the yamen of his fellow chin-shih, Chang Wei-ch'i 張維祺 (T. 吉甫), who was then magistrate of Fei-hsiang, Chihli. Through him Chang obtained temporary employment as lecturer in the Ch'ing-chang (清漳) Academy of that town. Returning to Peking early in 1782, Chang served as director of the Ching-shêng (敬勝) Academy at Yung-p'ing (1782-83) and then of the Lien-ch'ih (蓮池) Academy at Pao-ting (1784-87), Chihli. During this period he also took part (1783-84) in the compilation of a gazetteer of the Yung-ting river under the direction of Ch'ên Tsung 陳琮 (T. 華國, 蘊山),River Taotai of Yung-ting (1783-89). Though this work failed of publication the manuscript text, entitled 永定河志 Yung-ting-ho chih, 19 + 1 chüan, which was presented by Ch'ên Tsung to the throne, is preserved in the Palace Museum Library at Peiping. In 1787 Chang was forced to relinquish the directorship of the Lien-ch'ih Academy owing to the death of Liang Kuo-chih through whom he obtained it. But in the following year he became director of the Wên-chêng (文正) Academy at Kuei-tê, Honan. In 1789 he was in Po-chou, Anhwei, compiling the history of that place. Though this was a work after his own heart, it too failed of publication, and the drafts were lost. In 1790, at the call of Pi Yüan [q.v.], governor-general of Hupeh and Hunan, he went to Wuchang to engage in the compilation of a General Gazetteer of Hupeh Province, 湖北通志 Hupeh t'ung-chih. But four years later he resigned because of the transfer of Pi to Shantung and the antipathy of officials in the provincial office. Hence this edition of the gazetteer was not printed, but fragments of it have survived (see below). After 1795 Chang travelled from place to place in search of a patron, but failed to obtain one. In 1800 his eyesight became impaired and at the close of the following year he died in poverty.
The two most important extant works by Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng are the 文史通義 Wên-shih t'ung-i and its companion, the 校讎通義 Chiao-ch'ou t'ung-i both collections of essays on the method and philosophy of history. He began them in 1772, but the drafts were stolen in 1781. Later he retrieved fragments which had been copied by friends, and supplemented them. In 1796 he published a part (16 essays) under the title, Wên-shih t'ung-i. About thirty years after his death (1833) his second son, Chang Hua-fu 章華紱 (T. 授史, 緒遷) printed the expanded text of the Wên-shih t'ung-i in 5 + 3 chüan, together with the Chiao-ch'ou t'ung-i, 3 chüan, on the basis of his father's manuscripts. This edition, popularly called 章氏遺書 Chang-shih i-shu, was later (1885) reprinted by Chang's grandson. Several other short works by him were printed in various ts'ung-shu. In 1920 a collection of his works was printed in 24 chüan by the Chekiang Provincial Library under the title Chang-shih i-shu and two years later (1922), a complete collection of his works was printed under the same title by the Chia-yeh t'ang (嘉業堂) Library on the basis of a manuscript copy of his original drafts, edited at his request by Wang Tsung-yen 王宗炎 (T. 以除, H. 穀塍, 1755-1826). This edition, consisting of two parts, 30 and 18 chüan, with a supplement of 2 chüan, contains the following works: the approved texts of the Wên-shih t'ung-i, 6 + 3 chüan, and of the Chiao-ch'ou t'ung-i, 3 + 1 chüan, 方志略例 Fang-chih lüeh-li, 2 chüan, a collection of essays on the method of compiling local gazetteers; Hupeh t'ung-chih chien-ts'un kao (檢存稿), chüan, Hupeh t'ung-chih. wei-ch'êng kao (未成稿), 1 chüan, Ho-chou chih, 3 chüan, and Yung-ting hsien-chih, 10 chüan the last four being fragments of drafts of local gazeteers he compiled; his literary collection, 8 + 2 chüan, consisting chiefly of biographies and of letters in which he discussed historical matters with other scholars; and five other miscellaneous works on history. This collection, otherwise good, lacks certain brief notes on the dates of writing which are available in another manuscript of Chang's drafts in the possession of the late Professor Nait&oū<> (see below).
As the last scholar of the Eastern Chekiang School (浙東學派), which originated with Huang Tsung-hsi [q.v.], Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng was perhaps the most liberal and speculative exponent. On the basis of Liu Chih-chi's (see under Chi Yün) notable work on history, known as 史通 Shih-t'ung, (20 chüan, completed in 711), Chang developed, in his late twenties, his own genetic view of history as well as a method of studying it, which he later expanded and systematized. He maintained that history should be studied and written with a broad understanding of the underlying moral principle or meaning behind the events and the facts which constitute history. The talent to identify this principle was, in his opinion, the chief qualification of the historian. In his more philosophical and utilitarian approach he differed from the School of Han Learning (see under Ku Yen-wu and Hui Tung) which was concerned primarily with the minutiae of textual criticism, and with the study of history for its own sake. His aim was to criticize synthetically all types of literature in order to detect the meaning of history and for him, therefore, all the records of the past were materials to be utilized in that study. He would take for this purpose not only the works officially classified as history in the Imperial Catalogue (see under Chi Yün) but edicts, laws, public and private documents, the correspondence of the Six Boards, epitaphs, inscriptions on stone and bronze, local histories, genealogies, records of guilds, and even proverbs and songs. The breadth of his outlook is shown in the surviving table-of-contents of the lost 史籍考 Shih-chi k'ao, a catalogue of historical works in 325 chüan, compiled by him under the direction of Pi Yüan at Wuchang. All the records of the past being thus materials for history, Chang was concerned that they should be suitably preserved preferably under official auspices in safe, centrally-located places. They should not merely be preserved, but should be classified, collated, the sources clearly indicated, and the whole conveniently indexed, and so made available to those who wish to obtain the facts upon which the accurate writing of history depends. His genetic view made him favor the general and topical forms, known as t'ung-shih 通史 and chi-shih pên-mo 紀事本末, rather than the traditional chronological (pien-nien 編年) and the biographical (chi-chuan 紀傳) treatment. For him the ideal arrangement was a general history in which important individual events are subordinated in the form of notes.
It was Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng who for the first time gave to the so-called local gazetteers or topographies (fang-chih 方志) the dignity of history. These gazetteers, compiled in the localities which they treat, had then as now a very limited circulation and were regarded as of purely local interest. They were originally (in the Southern Sung period) geographical works, but later came to treat historical and political matters, and so lost something of their unity. Chang maintained that they should be an organic part of the national history, worthy to be taken as sources for the compilation of that history. In this respect his contemporary, Tai Chên, opposed his standardization and stressed their sectional character.
Despite his brilliant theory and his sound method, Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng did not have an opportunity to write a general history according to his plan. Though he had an opportunity to apply it in several local histories he seems to have encountered more difficulty in practice than he anticipated. For about a century after his death his theoretical views fell into comparative oblivion. He antagonized his contemporaries by the tenacity with which he held his views, and it seems that only Shao Chin-han agreed with him in theory. Not until the close of the Ch'ing period did a few Chinese scholars, under the influence of K'ang Yu-wei (see under T'an Ssŭ-t'ung), appreciate the significance of his method and his point of view. The first scholar of recent times to study him seriously was the Japanese sinologist, Nait&oū<> Torajir&oū<> 內藤虎次郎 (H. 湖南, 1866-1934) who published in 1920 Chang's nien-p'u under the title 章實齋年譜 Sh&oū<> Jitsusai nempu (Shinagaku, vol. I, nos. 3-4). Two years later Hu Shih 湖適 produced another, entitled 章實齋先生年譜 Chang Shih-chai hsien-shêng nien-p'u, which in turn was revised and supplemented (1931) by Yao Ming-ta 姚名達. Many studies of various aspects of Chang's scholarship have appeared in the past fifteen years.
[6/47/2a, 3b; Nien-p'u (see above); Nait&oū<> Torajir&oū<> (see above), 胡適之の近著章實齋年譜を讀む in Shinagaku, vol. III, no. 9 (1922), and 章實齋の史學 in 懷德, Kaitoku,no. 8 (1930); Okazaki Fumio 岡崎文夫, 章學誠の史學大要  in 史學研究 Shigaku kenkyū, vol. II, no. 3 (1931); Inobe Kazuie 井部一家, 章學誠の方志學 in 史淵 Shien,no. 5 (1932); Muroga Nobuo 室賀信夫, 章學誠とその方志學 in 地理論叢 Chiri ronsō, no. 7 (1935); Fu Chên-lun 傳振倫, 中國方志學概論 Chung-kuo fang-chih hsüeh kai-lun (1935), passim ;章實齋之史學 in Yenching Annual of Historical Study, vol. I, no. 5 (1932), and 章實齋史藉考體制之評論 in 北大圖書部月刊 Pei-ta t'u-shu-pu yüeh-k'an, vol. I, no. 1 (1922); Ch'ên Hsün-tz'ŭ陳訓慈, 清代浙東之史學 in 史學雜誌 Shih-hsüeh tsa-chih, vol. II, nos. 5-6 (1928).]