Knowledge Building and Everyday Practices: Hot Springs, Public Bathing and Medical Pilgrimages in Early Modern China
Fei Huang, Tübingen University
Wed, 3/2 · 4:30 pm—6:00 pm EST · Zoom
East Asian Studies Program
Knowledge about hot springs can be a key way of understanding how the interrelationship between nature and the human body operates both locally and globally. This lecture provides some hints of how knowledge about hot springs has been shaped and transmitted through encounters between highly structured forms of knowledge and bodily knowledge articulated by both intellectual elites and non-elite groups. These multiple fields of knowledge serve as an important but subtle undercurrent to understandings of customs, health, and pleasure in the everyday life of early modern Chinese society. More importantly, the various processes of knowledge building have inevitably been embodied in social practices. The actual constructions, daily management and use of hot springs in everyday life are virtually indivisible from individual physical treatments and sensual experiences, they are also indisputably bound up with the conception and (re)construction of the urban and natural environments. To make a thorough study of the knowledge and practices surrounding hot springs and public bathing in a specific context, this lecture will also concentrate on the hot springs in the vicinity of Xi’an to explore the complex and multifaceted experiences of the daily use of hot springs in more depth.