Juwen Zhang

Juwen Zhang

Professor Juwen Zhang earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, along with Urban Studies Certificate. He also studied at the graduate programs in Dartmouth College, and Shenyang Normal University in China.

Professor Zhang currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Japanese and Chinese.  He has also served on various professional positions such as, Director of the Center for Asian Studies at Willamette University, Member of the Executive Board of the American Folklore Society (AFS), Vice President of Western States Folklore Society (WSFS), and the Member of the Editorial Board of the Encyclopedia of American Studies.  He has organized a number of panels at professional meetings, and hosted conferences such as, Conference on Everyday Ritual Practices in Chinese Societies (2006), Western States Folklore Society annual meeting (2010), and Seminar on Traditional Music in the Reconstruction of Identity and Healing/Therapy of the Modern Mind-and-Heart (2013).  He has been coordinating a summer program with Willamette University’s sister-university in China (East China University of Political Science and Law) since 2008. 

As a folklorist, Professor Zhang has conducted fieldwork in China and the USA.  He has collaborated with Chinese folklorists on various topics, and lectured at a number of folklore programs including, Beijing University, Beijing Normal University, Liaoning University, Xiamen University, and Central China Normal University. He currently coordinates a project on Cultural Sustainability and Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) as the joint project between American Folklore Society and China Folklore Society funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.

Professor Zhang’s research interests are in, rites de passage, ritual studies, folklore performance, ethnic identity, humor, film and folklore, folktale, and Chinese/Asian American folklore.  His publications include, Cultural Grounding for the Transmission of the “Moon Man” Figure in the Tale of the “Predestined Wife” (ATU 930A) (Journal of American Folklore, 2014), Recovering Meanings Lost in Interpretations of Les Rites de Passage (Western Folklore, 2012), A Translation of the Ancient Chinese 'The Book of Burial (Zang Shu)' by Guo Pu (276-324) (2004), Filmic Folklore and Chinese Cultural Identity (Western Folklore, 2005).  His recent Chinese translations include,《记录我们自己》(Documenting Ourselves, by S. Sherman; 2011), 《过渡礼仪》(Les Rites de Passage, by Arnold van Gennep; 2010).

Professor Zhang has extensive experience in teaching Chinese language and culture.  Prior to his joining Willamette University in 2002, he taught at Dartmouth College, Middlebury College Summer Language School, Swarthmore College, Haverford College, and Bryn Mawr College.  During 2012-13, he taught at Dartmouth College as a visiting professor.  Professor Zhang’s language 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 pleasant.

Professor Zhang has led groups of students to China for faculty-student joint research projects or post-session courses, and has worked with students on various projects like making and playing ceramic flutes on Willamette campus.    

Professor Zhang currently teaches these courses on a regular basis:

ASIA 201: Gateway to East Asia

CHNSE 131: Elementary Chinese (I)

CHNSE 132: Elementary Chinese (II)

CHNSE 431: Reading the Humanities

CHNSE 432: Introduction to Classical Chinese Texts and Thoughts

CHNSE 490, 491: Reading and Conference

CHNSE 254: Language, Ethnicity, and Folklore in China

CHNSE 352: Rites of Passage in Chinese Societies

CHNSE 499W: Senior Seminar

Professor Zhang teaches these courses on a need basis:

ASIA 202: Asian Studies Colloquium

ASIA 258: Topics in Asian Studies: Asian American Folklore and Folklife

ASIA 358: Field Studies in China

ASIA 390-391: Independent Study

CHNSE 231, 232: Second Year Chinese

CHNSE 331, 332: Third Year Chinese

CHNSE 256: Chinese Folklore in Film

IDS 101-38: Eat Drink Man and Woman in China (First-year College Colloquium)

IDS 101-37: Confucius and Aristotle: Everyday Ethics (First-year College Colloquium)