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Juwen Zhang

Professor of Chinese Studies

Headshot of Juwen Zhang

Contact Information

Salem Campus

Walton 144
900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301
503-375-5398 (Fax)


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

As a folklorist, Professor Zhang is a Fellow of American Folklore Society (AFS), President of Western States Folklore Society (WSFS), and has also served on the elected Executive Board and other committees of AFS.  In 2019, he delivered the Archer Taylor Memorial Lecture at the WSFS. His research interests are in such areas as, rites de passage, ritual studies, folk performance, film and folklore, folk and fairy tale, diasporic identity, and Chinese/Asian American folklore. He has developed and defined these theoretical concepts: “filmic folklore,” “folkloric identity,” “core and arbitrary identity markers,” “vitality and validity of tradition,” and “cultural self-healing mechanism.” His current research projects include translating and studying folk and fairy tales, and folklore of epidemics.

In 2022, Professor Zhang’s book, Oral Traditions in Contemporary China: Healing a Nation (Lexington Books, 2021), was awarded the Chicago Folklore Prize by the American Folklore Society. "First awarded in 1904, the Chicago Folklore Prize, awarded to the author(s) of the best book-length work of folklore scholarship for the year, is the oldest international award recognizing excellence in folklore scholarship."

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 such as making and playing traditional ceramic and bamboo flutes, and facilitating a number of students publishing their translations. 

Professor Zhang is the recipient of the Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship, Faculty Council, Willamette University, 2020. 

Courses Taught by Professor Zhang:

  • ASIA 201: Gateway to East Asia
  • ASIA 210: Making and Playing of Traditional Musical Instruments
  • ASIA 258-01: Asian American Folklore and Folklife
  • ASIA 258-02: Chinese Food and Medicine
  • ASIA 299-01: Folklore and Epidemics
  • ASIA 358: Field Studies in China
  • ASIA 390, 391: Independent Study
  • CHNSE 131, 132: Elementary Chinese (I) (II)
  • CHNSE 231, 232: Second Year Chinese (I) (II)
  • CHNSE 331, 332: Third Year Chinese (I) (II)
  • CHNSE 431: Reading the Humanities
  • CHNSE 432: Introduction to Classical Chinese Texts and Thoughts
  • CHNSE 490, 491: Reading and Conference
  • CHNSE 254: Folklore and Identity
  • CHNSE 352: Rites of Passage in Chinese Societies
  • CHNSE 499W: Senior Seminar
  • GCS 105: Introduction to Global Cultural Studies
  • IDS 101-24: Chinese Myths and Tales in Films (First-year College Colloquium)
  • 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)

Selected Publications (2019-2023)

CV/Publications as of Summer 2023



Willamette University

Chinese Studies

Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6256 voice
503-370-6720 fax