Watery State: Environmental Changes, Water Communities, and Religion around Lake Tai in Modern China, 1850-1950


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation Travel Grants to China




My project aspires to reconfigure the topography of state power from the perspective of its watery peripheries. By focusing on Lake Tai, the southwestern margin of the lower Yangzi—the most developed and governed region in China from the late imperial to modern period, I offer a new approach to analyze how lakes and waterways form a fluid frontier that shapes the ways its dwellers interact with expanding modern authorities. To be precise, my study aims to challenge the prevalent perception of China as a terrestrial power, asking to what degree such understanding will change when shifting our view from land-based into water-centered by stressing living experiences of resistance on or near inland waters.