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Published: 2020-02-16




Associate Professor, Institute of Folk Literature

School of Chinese Language and Literature

Beijing Normal University, 100875, Beijing, P. R. China.

pengmu66@hotmail.com or pengmu@bnu.edu.cn

Research Interests: folk belief and practice, ritual and festival, folk handicraft, traditional Chinese medicine and folk medicine, bodylore, history of folklore studies.





     Sep. 2012— Present     Associate professor on Folklore and Anthropology, Institute of Folk Literature, School of Chinese Language and Literature, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.

    Sep. 2017—Aug.2018      Visiting Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.

    Sep. 2008— Aug. 2012   Lecturer on Folklore and Anthropology, Institute of Folk Literature, School of Chinese Language and Literature,

                                             Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.

    July 1997—July 2001   Lecturer on Folklore, Chinese Language and Literature Department, Peking University, China.

July 1993—July 1994   Assistant Researcher, Institute of Minority Nationality and Religion, Qinghai Academy of Social Science, Xining, Qinghai Province, China.



  Sep. 2001—May, 2008   University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Ph. D. in Folklore, the Graduate Program in Folklore and Folklife.

  Sep.1994—July 1997    Peking University, Beijing, P. R. China. M.A. in Folklore, Department of Chinese Language and Literature.

  Sep. 1989—July 1993   Fudan University, Shanghai, P. R. China.  B.A. in Chinese Literature, from Department of Chinese Language and Literature.



   2017          National Research Grant for Scholars from the National Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science, P.R. China (Sheke jijin yiban xiangmu 社科基金一般项目), Project title: Cultural Identity, Politics of Culture, and Knowledge Production in American Folklore Studies.

   2010          National Research Grant for Young Scholars from the National Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science, P.R. China (Sheke jijin qingnian xiangmu社科基金青年项目), Project title: Bodylore: Theory and Chinese Cases.

  2010          Research Grant from the Scientific Research Foundation for the Returned Overseas Chinese Scholars, State Education Ministry, P. R. China (Jiaoyu bu liuxue huiguo renyuan keyan qidong jijin教育部留学回国人员科研启动基金), Project title: Everyday Life and Ritual Tradition: Folk Belief and Practice in Contemporary China.

   2006—2007    Dissertation fellowship, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania.

   2005—2006    Penfield Scholarship, for fieldwork in China, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania.

  2005          China Times Young Scholars Award, for dissertation project, the China Times Cultural Foundation, Washington D. C.

   2001—2005    William Penn Fellowship, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania.

   2003          MacEdward Leach Prize, for paper entitled: Li: An Ideal for the Cultivated Body, the Center for Folklore and Ethnography, University of Pennsylvania.






     1.Book Review of  Wu Song Fights the Tiger: The Interaction of Oral and Written Traditions in the Chinese Novel, Drama, and Storytelling by Vibeke BordahlThe Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 129, No. 513 (Summer 2016), pp. 357-359.

      2.“The Invisible and the Visible: Communicating with the Yin World”, Asian Ethnology, Vol. 94, No. 2, pp. 335-362, 2015.

      3. “Imitating Masters: Apprenticeship and Embodied Knowledge in Rural China” in Devorah Kalekin-Fishman and Kelvin E. Y. Low ed. Asian Experiences of Everyday Life in Asia: Social Perspectives on the Senses, Ashgate, 2010, pp.115-136.

    4.  Book review Up in Flames: the Ephemeral Art of Pasted-Paper Sculpture in Taiwan, Ellen Johnston Laing and Helen Hui-ling Liu, Stanford University Press, 2004, in Museum Anthropology, Vol. 31, No. 1. pp. 60-61, 2008.

    5.  “The Doctor’s Body: Embodiment and Multiplicity of Chinese Medical Knowledge”, in East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine, no. 25, pp. 27-46, 2006.


Chinese Publication


1. “The Contemporaneity of Intangible Cultural Heritage: Temporality and the heritagization of Folk Tradition” (feiwuzhi wenhua yichan de dangxiaxing: shijianxing yu minsu chuantong de yichanhua), Studies on Ethnic Literature (minzu wenxue yanjiu), No. 4, pp. 21-34, 2018.

2.“Folklore and Body”(minsu yu shenti), Folk Culture Forum (minjian wenhua luntan), no.5, pp. 125-128, 2018.

 3.“Spiritual Houses, Materiality, and Everyday Life in the Other World”(lingwu wuzhixing yu mingjie de richang shenghuo), The World Religious Cultures (shijie zongjiao wenhua), no. 3, pp. 55-60, 2015.

 4.Memory, Imagination, Home and World: The Chinese Domestic Altar” (jiyi yu xiangxiang, shentang shang de jia yu shijie) Folklore Studies (minsu yanjiu), no.2, pp. 20-26, 2015.

5.“Commonalities and divergences: Li and Ritual” (Tong yi zhi jian: li yu yishi), Folklore Studies (minsu yanjiu), no.3, pp. 5-14, 2014.

6.Doctor, subjectivity and the knowledge of traditional Chinese Medicine(yisheng zhuguanxing yu zhongyi zhishi chuantong), Cultural Studies (wenhua yanjiu), no. 18, pp.258-275, 2014 .

7.“Ancestors are Efficacious: Incense, Hosting and Efficacy” (zuxian you ling: xianghuo peixi yu lingyan), The World Religious Cultures (shijie zongjiao wenhua), no. 2, pp.62-67, 2012.

8.“Imitation, Body and Senses: Knowledge Transmission and Embodiment in Folk Handicrafts” (mofang,shenti yu ganjue:minjian shouyide chuancheng yu shijian), the Chinese journal for the history of science and technology (zhongguo keji shi zazhi), Vol. 32, Suppl. pp. 75-89, 2011.

9.  “From Belief to Believing: Folk Religion in American Folklore Scholarship”(cong xiyang dao xin: meiguo minsuxue de minjian zongjiao yanjiu) , Folklore Studies (minsu yanjiu), no.1, pp. 47-66, 2011.

10.“Technology, Folklore Studies and the Other of Modernity”(jishu,minsuxue yu xiandaixing de tazhe), Northwestern Journal of Ethnology (xibei minzu yanjiu), no. 1, pp. 111-116, 2011.

11.“Nishi and Qingshi: Apprenticeship and Embodied Knowledge”(nishi he qingshi: xuetuzhi yu tihui de zhishi), Study of folklore, ancient documents and philology ( minsu dianji wenzi yanjiu), no. 7, pp. 96-106, 2010.

12.“Folklore and the Body: Bodylore in American Folklore Studies” (minsu yu shenti: meiguo minsuxue de shenti yanjiu), Folklore Studies (minsu yanjiu), no.3, pp. 16-32, 2010.

13.“Religion and Zongjiao: Analytical Category and Ethnic Concept” (Religion yu zongjiao: fenxi fanchou yu bentu gannian), The World Religious Cultures (shijie zongjiao wenhua), No. 5, pp. 11-18, 2010.

14. "Visual Art as performance: Auspicious Emblems in Chinese Folk Arts" (Zuowei biaoyan de shijue yishu: zhongguo minjian meishu zhong de jixiang tu’an), Lu Wei and An Deming ed. Proceedings of the Diversity of Folk Narrative: Annual Meeting of Forum of Folk Culture Studies (Minjian xushi de duoyang xing), pp. 109-128, Beijing: Xueyuan chuban she, 2006.

15."Practice, the Politics of Culture, and Performance Theory in American Folklore" (Shijian, wenhua zhengzhixue yu meiguo minsu xue de biaoyan lilun), Forum of Folk Culture (Minjian wenhua luntan), no. 5, pp. 90-97, 2005.


Translation (English to Chinese)

1.“Little Red Riding Hood 2.0: New Developments in Digital Humanities” (xiaohongmao 2.0 ban shuzi renwenxue de xin fazhan), translation of article by Lilo Berg, Folk Culture Forum (minjian wenhua luntan), no. 5, pp. 5-12, 2014.

2.“Globalizing Memory Cultures? :Visual Icons, Fundamentalist Strategies, and Religious Symbols in Memory Politics” (jiyi wenhua de quanqiuhua?—jiyi zhengzhi de shijue ouxiang,yuanjiaozhi zhuyi celue ji zongjiao xiangzheng) 3.translation of the speech by Wolfgang Kaschuba Germany, Folklore Studies (minsu yanjiu), no.1, pp.5-11, 2012.

4.“What Should Folklore Mean Today? - European Experiences and Perspectives”minsuxue zai jintian yinggai yiwei zhe shenme—ouzhou jingyan yu shijiao, translation of the speech by Wolfgang Kaschuba Germany, Folklore Studies (minsu yanjiu), no.2, pp.41-51, 2011.

5.Jeffery C. Alexander’s Neofunctionlism and After (co-translator, translated the preface and 1-5 chapters), Yilin chuban she, 2003.



1.Presented paper Doing Handicraft: Balancing Diversity and Uniformity in Rural China at Folklore Society Conference “Working Life: Belief, Custom, Ritual, Narrative”, Reading, UK, April, 2018.

2.As keynote speaker (coauthor with Dr. Kang Li), presented paper Local KnowledgeCultural Translationand Codes of Ethics: A Case Study of the Issue of Animal Use in Intangible Cultural Heritage at the SYMPOSIUM ICH NGO FORUM: Towards a Code of ethics for ICH NGOs? (Symposium on the occasion of 10. COM Intergovernmental Committee Meeting of the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage), Windhoek, Namibia, Nov., 2015.

3. Presented paper Technology, Folklore Studies and the Other of Modernity at International Conference “Chinese Folklore Studies and the Transformation of Modern Society”, Ji’nan, Shandong Province, Nov. , 2010.

4. Presented paper Commonalities and Divergences: Li and Ritual at “Anthropology of Religion: Retrospect and Prospect”, the first academic forum of anthropology of religion, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, March, 2010.

5.Presented paper Balancing Diversity and Uniformity: Village, Community, and Visions of the Yin World” at “Examining the Ethics of Place: 2009 Annual Meeting of American Folklore Society”, BoiseIdaho, Oct. 2009

6. Presented paper: Jianghu, Masters, and Apprenticeship: Embodiment and Esoteric Knowledge in Rural Hunan at the Workshop “Doing Social Anthropology with Folklore: In Search of a New Paradigm for Studies of Han-Chinese Society” supported by the China Study Group at the Technische Universität Berlin and the Institute of European Ethnology, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, July, 2009.

7. Presented paper: “The Possessed Bodies” at the Annual Meeting of American Academy of Religion, Chicago, IL, Nov. 2008

 8.Presented paper: Paper and the Materialization of the Yin World: A Case Study on Funeral Practices in Hunan at “Artisanal Practice and Popular Culture in Late Imperial China”, workshop of Partner Group of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the Institute for the History of Natural Science, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, June, 2008.

 9.Presented paper “It is as Thin as a Sheet of Paper between the Yin and Yang”: Materializing the Yin World at “Homelands and Diasporas”, Annual Meeting of American Folklore Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Oct., 2006. 

10.  Presented Paper Memory and Imagination: the Chinese Domestic Altar at “Folklore and Landscape: Annual Meeting of American Folklore Society”, Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct., 2004.

 11.  Presented Paper Xuanjuan: A Transitional Genre Between Orality and Literacy atBound, Unbound: Textuality Within and Beyond the Book”, the Third Annual Graduate Humanities Forum Conference at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Apr., 2003.


Academic Membership

1999—Present        Member of Chinese Folklore Society.

Jan.1997—Present     Member of Chinese Folk Literature Society

2004-2009           Member of American Folklore Society

2008                Member of American Academy of Religion

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