Haoran Shi

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Stanford U.

Grant number

Gr. 10450

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Shi, Haoran (Stanford U.) Heritage Infrastructure: Maintenance, Preservation, and Long-Term Sustainability of the Qanat Systems in Turpan, Xinjiang

In recent years, the growing recognition of functional infrastructure as a significant aspect of cultural heritage has necessitated the development of innovative strategies to document and preserve its dynamic history. My dissertation investigates as a case study the underground irrigation systems, known as qanat, in Xinjiang, which have been utilized for millennia and recently acclaimed as significant cultural heritage by the central government. Employing a multidisciplinary approach, this study integrates remote sensing techniques, surveys, and palaeo-ecological analyses to explore the constant transformations of these systems and the role of indigenous maintenance practices in their sustained development. Further, the project will juxtapose the archaeological evidence of local maintenance with an ethnographic examination of heritage preservationists, subsequently providing valuable perspectives on potential pathways for re-assessing the notion of ‘infrastructure’ within the context of cultural heritage.