Organized Panel Session
This paper is part of the preliminary stage of my on-going project “Hot Spring, Public Bathing and Urban Environment in Modern China” (1850-1949) which examines the cultural perceptions and social used of hot springs in Modern China. In this paper I will mainly investigates the development of the interaction between the environment and the frontier society from the perspective of water landscapes, hot springs in particular, in modern southwest China. Springs serves as an excellent example to elaborate on the relation of the environment and local society for its interactive roles with biological and medical systems, physical and spiritual sensibilities, and its representation in art, literature and popular knowledge. Ever since the imperial period, various actors such as literati, officials, travelers, local commoners, indigenous and foreigners, have employed hot springs as a water source for daily supplement, agricultural use, medical treatment, spiritual power and cultural appreciation. This multi-knowledge of hot springs was clearly shown in the theme-related gazetteers, such as gazetteers of hot springs during the period of China’s transition to a modern society. This paper examines the transformation of knowledge of local environmental and natural resources by focusing on the gazetteers of hot springs in the southwest China. It aims at analyzing the cultural and material significance of hot springs through extensive surveys and in-depth case studies in order to explore human interaction with water landscapes in the process of the social transformation of Modern China.