Professor Zhang earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, along with Urban Studies Certificate. He also attended the graduate programs in Dartmouth College and in Shenyang Normal University in China. His academic training has led his research interests to topics such as, Chinese ritual studies, folklore performance, ethnic identity, humor, material culture, popular culture, and Chinese/Asian American folklore. His current research is on the Rites of Passage in Chinese Societies and Filmic Folklore.
As a language teacher, Professor Zhang has brought with him extensive experience in teaching Chinese language from these programs: Dartmouth College, Middlebury College Summer Language School, Swarthmore College, Haverford College, and Bryn Mawr College in the past seven years, as well as ten years' language teaching in China. His teaching style has integrated the merits from different approaches, emphasizing communicative proficiency. Through visualization and dramatization in reinforcement drills and situational conversations, he tries to make the process of learning Chinese not only efficient, but also interesting and pleasant.Currently, Professor Zhang teaches Chinese language at all levels and the following culture courses: Rites of Passage in Chinese Societies (CHNSE 252) in the fall and Language, Ethnicity, and Folklore in China (CHNSE 254) in the spring.