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Transnational Asia/Pacific Section: Member Research Profiles

Updated October 23, 2018; October 19, 21, 2016; September 28, 2015; posted on the web February 4, 2016.

To add or modify your profile, please contact the co-convener Charles La Shure.

Brenda Beck is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anthropology at The University of Toronto. Her research interests focus on South Asia, especially Tamilnadu, India, and include folklore, religious life, story telling, art, symbolism, ceremonies, and folk drama. Recent projects include a two volume graphic novel set, a folk drama, and several papers on multicultural story-telling in schools. E-mail: Foundation:

Mark Bender is Professor and Chair of the Department of East Asian languages and Literatures at The Ohio State University. He is interested in oral and oral-connected performance traditions and texts from China and contiguous areas of Asia; eco-literature; and material culture studies. He is currently working on a project from upland and border areas on poems from Eastern Asia which have a high folklore and environmental content, as well as material culture in epics from SW China. E-mail:

Simon J. Bronner teaches at Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg (USA). His areas of research include folklife and material culture. Recent projects include Youth Cultures In America (ABC-CLIO, 2016), Explaining Traditions: Folk Behavior In Modern Culture (University Press of Kentucky, 2011), Encyclopedia Of American Folklife, 4 vols. (M. E. Sharpe, 2006), Manly Traditions: The Folk Roots Of American Masculinities (Indiana University Press, 2005), and Lafcadio Hearn's America (University Press of Kentucky, 2002). His current research project addresses strongman lore and contests globally. E-mail:; Also see Folklore and Folklife Studies at Penn State on Facebook

Anthony Bak Buccitelli is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Communications at Penn State University, Harrisburg. His research interests include folk narrative, festive culture, digital culture, American ethnic history and culture, especially of Irish and Chinese Americans, and the history of Chinese and Chinese American folkloristics. His recent article "The Reluctant Folklorist: Jon Y. Lee, Paul Radin, and the Fieldwork Process" (2015) exposed and examined the little known works of the first Chinese American professional folklorist: Jon Y. Lee. A later publication will collect and annotate samples of Lee's unpublished manuscripts. Buccitelli is also editor of the forthcoming book Race and Ethnicity in the Virtual World (Praeger Books), an interdisciplinary collection of essays on traditional expressions surrounding race and ethnicity in digital spaces. E-mail: 

Beverly J. Butcher Ph.D., is a multicultural interdisciplinary scholar (B.A., English; M.A., Folklore, UC Berkeley; Ph.D., U Pennsylvania, Folklore and Folklife). She is the author of Chinese and Chinese American Ancestor Veneration in the Catholic Church, 635, A.D. to the Present (Edwin Mellen Press, 2010), as well as of a number of folklore related articles mainly with a focus on the Chinese diaspora and Pacific Islander Americans. The folklorist serves as Editorial Board Member for CHINESE AMERICA: History & Perspectives, THE JOURNAL OF THE CHINESE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA. Presently she is researching Chinese and Filipino folk traditions in contemporary Bohol, Philippines Catholic life as well as public folklore programming in Nanjing, China. The folklorist divides her time between Nanjing, China; Bohol, Philippines; and Ormond-by-the-Sea, Florida. She is Associate Professor of English, English Department Chair, and Director of the former NYIT Center for Humanities and Culture at NUPT, Nanjing, now the NYIT-NUPT Campus Commons. E-mail:

Lei Cai is a Lecturer of Folklore in the Department of Sociology at Wuhan University, China, where she teaches courses on Chinese folklore, intangible cultural heritage, folk religion, and qualitative research. She got her Ph.D. in folklore from Beijing Normal University in 2009 and joined Penn State University, Harrisburg's American studies program as a visiting scholar in 2015. Her research focuses on folk craft, folklore theory, rural study, and intangible cultural heritage. She has publications on festivals, rituals, crafts, dress, clan, and village life. Her current book project looks at the change of handcraft industry in a Chinese village, which focuses on the relationship between folk craft and village community. E-mail:

Mario De Grandis is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, The Ohio State University. His research focuses on the impact of ethnic designations in modern China. E-mail:

Kati Fitzgerald is a PhD student and FLAS Fellow at The Ohio State University. She received a BA from Barnard College in Theatre and performed two years of field work and study in Kathmandu, Nepal and Lhasa, Tibet. Her work focuses on Tibetan opera (lhamo) as it is performed in and outside the Tibet Autonomous Region. She is especially interested in didactic tools used in oral lineage transmission and ideas of authenticity in relation to oral performance modes. She is currently delving into the religious biography (rnam thar) from which lhamo scripts emerge. She is also the treasurer of the Religious Studies Roundtable at OSU. E-mail:

Michael Dylan Foster is Associate Professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana University, where he teaches courses on folklore, tourism, heritage, and literary and historical approaches to folkloristics. His research focuses on Japanese folklore and literature, particularly concerning the supernatural and monstrous, as well as festival, ritual and tourism. He is the author of Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yōkai (University of California Press, 2009), The Book of Yōkai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore (University of California Press, 2015) as well as articles on folklore, literature, and media in Japan. He is co-editor of The Folkloresque: Reframing Folklore in a Popular Culture World (Utah State University Press, 2016) and UNESCO on the Ground: Local Perspectives on Intangible Cultural Heritage (Indiana University Press, 2015). He is currently editor of the Journal of Folklore Research. E-mail:

Adam Frank is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Performance Studies in the Schedler Honors College, University of Central Arkansas. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology (Folklore and Expressive Culture) from the University of Texas at Austin, where he completed a dissertation on practice and identity in the Chinese martial art of taijiquan (tai chi). Recent publications include "Unstructuring Structure and Communicating Secrets inside/outside a Chinese Martial Arts Association" in JOMEC Journal: Journalism, Media, and Cultural Studies 5 and "Enacting a Daoist Aesthetic through Taijiquan’s Martial Training Techniques" in the Journal of Daoist Studies 6. In addition to his scholarly work, he is also a film and theatre artist. Recent stage credits include roles with Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Los Angeles and Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. Film appearances include a co-starring role in the award-winning short A Wheel and the Moon, as well as roles in Revenge of the Nerds and the ABC series Young Riders. For more info, please see Adam's website: E-mail:

Kazuko Fujii is a Graduate Doctoral Researcher at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan whose research focuses on the study of Alumni Association of Repatriates from South Korea, the expressive culture of settlers in Japan, Japanese outsider art, and how in Ishigaki Island and Iriomote Island, when an individual pioneered after the war, expressive culture was born. A recent publication is “Women’s ‘Getsumeikai’-Girls’ High School That Was In Colonial Graduates’ Network And Life.” Japan Oral History Review vol. 11, September 2015: Japan Oral History Association. E-mail:

Levi S. Gibbs (葛融) is an Assistant Professor of Chinese in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures at Dartmouth College, where he teaches courses on Chinese folklore, modern literature, culture, and language. His research focuses on Chinese folksong performance and collection and the relationship between individual and tradition in performance, and he recently co-wrote the entry on “Folklore and Popular Culture” (2014) in Oxford Bibliographies in Chinese Studies and has a forthcoming article in Asian Ethnology entitled “Culture Paves the Way, Economics Comes to Sing the Opera: Chinese Folk Duets and Global Joint Ventures.” His current book project looks at aspects of the life, songs, and performances of the “King of Northern Shaanxi Folksongs,” Wang Xiangrong, highlighting the ability of representative/iconic artists to offer audiences opportunities to redefine and affirm their notions of self in relation to others amidst social change. Levi is Associate Editor and Book Review Editor of CHINOPERL: Journal of Chinese Oral and Performing Literature, and senior convener of the Transnational Asia/Pacific Section of the American Folklore Society (AFS). E-mail:

Jason Baird Jackson is primarily a student of Native North American cultures and histories, but he is pursuing studies aimed at better understanding the work of museum ethnographers in China and of work basketry in the country’s Southwestern provinces. He is Director of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures at Indiana University, where he is also a faculty member in its Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. With Lijun Zhang of the Guangxi Museum of Nationalities, he is the co-curator of a Mathers Museum of World Cultures exhibition: "Putting Baskets to Work in Southwestern China”. He is also the convener of the Folklore and Museums Section of the American Folklore Society (AFS). E-mail:

Fariha Khan is the Associate Director of the Asian American Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania where she also teaches courses on South Asians in the U.S, Asian American Communities, as well as Muslim Identity in America. She received a Master's degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Yale University and a PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. Her current research focuses on South Asian American Muslims and the Bangladeshi American community. Her work will be included in the upcoming JAF featuring Asian American Folklore. E-mail:

Fumihiko Kobayashi is an independent scholar specializing in comparative folklore studies between the East and the West, and culture studies from various perspectives. He received his PhD in Jewish & Comparative Folklore Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. He is an author of Japanese Animal-Wife Tales: Narrating Gender Reality in Japanese Folktale Tradition (New York: Peter Lang, 2015), “Looking for the Unknown Asia: The Asian Mystique in Early Modern European Textual History” in Imagining Early Modern Histories, eds. by Allison Kavey and Elizabeth Ketner (New York: Routledge, 2015), and related articles. E-Mail:

Incoronata (Nadia) Inserra teaches at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she received her PhD in English and trained in the intersections of cultural studies and folklore. Her main research areas are transnationalism and migration, particularly as it is reflected through folk festivals and performances, tourism, and world music. While her current book project focuses on Southern Italian folk music and dance and its transnational exports, her previous doctoral studies in Italy focused instead on Hawai'i's and Pacific cultures, particularly their postcolonial and indigenous articulations. In the future, she would like to continue working in both geographical directions from the perspective of folklore, tourism, and heritage studies. Among her current publications projects, a title that might relevant to this section is her in-progress article on “Rediscovering Waikīkī through Helumoa: the Re-Emplacement of Hawaiian Myth in Ecotourist Discourse.” E-mail:

Charles La Shure is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Korean Language and Literature at Seoul National University, Korea, where he teaches courses on Korean culture, literature, and folklore. His primary research subject is the Korean trickster figure, on which he has published articles in various Korean journals, contributed chapters for books, and written articles for encyclopedias and other reference materials. Other research interests include cultural heritage, multiculturalism, and comparative folklore studies. In addition to his research, he also translates Korean literature; recent publications include Kim Young-ha’s Black Flower and Kim Namcheon’s Scenes from the Enlightenment. He is currently translating a selection of novellas by Seon Uhui and preparing an introductory book on Korean culture. E-mail:

Jing Li is an Associate Professor of Chinese in the Department of East Asian Studies at Gettysburg College. Her research interests include ethnic tourism and cultural transformations in southwest China, gender and folklore, Chinese folklore scholarship, ethnic literature, film, and performing arts in China, folktale and contemporary filmic adaptations. Her publications have appeared in Asian Ethnicity, Modern China, Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, Minsu Yanjiu (Folklore Studies), and Asian Ethnology. She recently wrote a chapter on folktale films in China in the book titled Fairy Tale Films beyond Disney: International Perspectives (forthcoming, Routledge). E-mail:

Mu Li is Assistant Professor in the School of Arts, Southeast University, Nanjing, China. His research interests include Chinese immigrant communities in North America (Newfoundland and Marintime Canada in particular) and Chinese death culture in both China and North America. Some publications include: “Criticising Local Politics, Rejecting Western Cultural Intrusion: A Study of Sanlu Dairy Online Jokes” (2009, Cultural Analysis 8); “Jewish Activities on Christmas: An Online Case Study” (2011, Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore 37), and “Negotiating Chinese Culinary Traditions in Newfoundland” (Digest: a Journal of Foodways and Culture (Journal of American Folklore Society's Foodways Section) 3) and more forthcoming ones in Western Folklore and other journals. His contact info is: Mu Li, School of Arts, Southeast University (Jiulonghu Campus), Nanjing, China, 210000; Cell: +8615062246828; E-mail:;

Wei Liu is a Ph.D. student in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at The Ohio State University. Her field of specialization is the study of vernacular Confucian ritual and religious practices in a local Chinese culture, Huizhou Culture. Through multi-sited fieldwork and the use of written genealogies and other relevant texts, her study aims to contribute to the understanding of a current Chinese social phenomenon: the revival of Confucianism and popular religion. E-mail:

Jiang Lu is Professor of Interior Design in the School of Visual & Built Environments at Eastern Michigan University. Her field of interest is cultural traditions of architecture, dwellings and architectural ornaments. E-mail:

Margaret Magat (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania; MA in Folklore from UC Berkeley), is a Cultural Resource Program Manager working in the field of historic preservation and CRM (Cultural Resource Management). Her interests include foodways, intangible cultural heritage, traditional cultural properties, the politics of space and place, and Asian American folklore. Margaret has published in journals including Western Folklore, Proverbium, and Paedagogica Historica. She is currently working on her first book on food and the making of culinary capital in the Filipino diaspora. E-mail:

Semontee Mitra is a Lecturer in the School of Humanities and a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies at Penn State University, Harrisburg. She specializes in the study of South Asian Indian Americans with a focus on religion, immigration, folk culture, and gender. Her work has appeared in Puralokbarta, a regional folk journal in India and will soon appear in Children’s Folklore Review, a children’s folklore journal published by the Children’s Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society and also in American Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales: An Encyclopedia of American Folklore. She is an Associate Editor of Cultural Analysis, an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to investigate expressive and everyday culture, and co-convener of the Transnational Asia/Pacific Section of the American Folklore Society (AFS). E-mail:

Yuko Nakamura is a PhD candidate in Architecture (with minors in Folklore Studies and Environmental History) in the Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Prior to her arrival in Milwaukee, she obtained BEng in Urban Planning at the University of Tokyo, and MArch in Urban Design at University College London. She also worked as an architectural designer in Tokyo, Japan. Specialized in vernacular architecture studies, she is currently working on her dissertation about women's experiences and tactical uses of spaces in Tokyo, Japan, 1923–1941. During the time in Milwaukee, she conducted research on ordinary people's placemaking in both urban and suburban neighborhoods and presented it at annual meetings of Vernacular Architecture Forum, American Folklore Society, and Oral History Association. E-mail:; Website:

Katharine (Kate) Schramm is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, where she has taught folklore and Japanese as well as worked in public folklore and museum contexts. Her research focuses on community ritual and intangible cultural heritage in Okinawa, Japan, and she is currently co-curating "Monsters!" at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, an upcoming exhibit focused on various cultural incarnations of monsters, including the unpredictable visiting deities of Miyakojima. Previous work on children's early play and creativity has appeared in the Children's Folklore Review. She currently serves as the convener of the Children's Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society. E-mail:

Wenyuan Shao is a doctoral student of East Asian Languages and Literature at Ohio State University. Her dissertation project examines time, poetics and intertextuality of a Tibeto-Burman-speaking community in southwest China. She gained insights into recurrent patterns underlying literary texts from China, Japan and Korea through extensive coursework in folklore, anthropology, comparative studies, history and linguistics. Wenyuan has published a review article in East Asian Publishing and Society, Brill’s new journal dedicated to studies in book history and manuscript culture. She has been committed to academic service for two years by organizing various kinds of programs for her home department. E-mail:

Timothy Thurston is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. At the Smithsonian, he helps to design and implement the Center’s new initiative aimed at the documentation and preservation of Tibetan languages and oral traditions in China. Thurston’s research examines the nexus of tradition and modernity in Tibet. In particular, he examines the role of both traditional and modern discursive forms—and particularly of humor—in the development of modern Tibetan language ideologies in Northwest China during the post-Mao era. Timothy Thurston has previously published articles on Tibetan oral and performance traditions in Asian Ethnology and CHINOPERL, and has edited Asian Highlands Perspectives, a peer- reviewed journal dedicated to publishing ethnographic, literary, and historical articles, about the Asian Highlands region (broadly construed) since 2009. E-mail:

Sue Tuohy (苏独玉) is a faculty member in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University (with an adjunct appointment in East Asian Languages and Cultures), where she teaches courses in ethnomusicology, cultural diversity in China, senses of place, fieldwork and ethnography, and sound studies, among others. Sue conducts research on the roles of expressive forms, performance and discourse in society, as theoretical issues and as they play out in 20th- and 21st-century China. Among the topics she addresses are cultural performance (spectacle, tourism, and heritage projects), cultural policies and the organization of the arts, and intellectual history. She began conducting ethnographic research in China in 1983, focusing particularly on hua’er folksongs, singers, festivals, and scholarship in Northwest China. In addition to articles on hua’er, she publishes on topics such as Chinese film and music, music in social-political transformations, music and nationalism, and folklore scholarship in China. She currently is working on two projects dealing with issues continuity and change in practices and values: one on hua’er folksong and the other on intangible cultural heritage. Sue currently serves as an officer in the Association of Chinese Music Research and on the editorial board of CHINOPERL. E-mail:

Xiao Fang is a Professor now serving as Dean of Anthropology and Folklore in the Institute of Social Management/School of Sociology in Beijing Normal University, with a Ph.D in Folklore. Meanwhile, he is Vice President of the International Asian Folklore Society and Vice President of the China Folklore Society. His research areas cover historical folklore, folk cultural history, festivals and ritual customs. He hosted the key project of the National Social Science Fund—“The Research On The Modern Reconstruction And Inheritance Of Life Rituals.” Based on his research, Xiao has published hundreds of academic papers and more than ten scholarly books, including Research on Jingchu Suishiji – With Discussion on Concept of Time in Traditional Chinese Folk’s Life (Jingchu Suishiji is an ancient book on Festivals in the Jingchu Area). E-mail:

Nancy L. Watterson is an Associate Professor of American Studies in the Department of History and Political Science at Cabrini College. She teaches courses including: “Martial Arts & the Diaspora: Ways of Awareness, Ways of Life”; “Engaged Ethnography”; “Introduction to American Studies”; “Black Folklore and Folklife”; “Art & Protest”; and research/writing/social justice seminars. Her current research focuses on I Liq Chuan:
The Martial Art of AwarenessTM
and meta-cognition, particularly students' awareness of learning processes through mindful martial arts. In 2014, she received a small grant to pilot this research along with her co-instructor/co-investigator, Mr. Lan Tran. Together, they have combined research and teaching on this topic to graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania and undergraduate students at Cabrini. Recent publications include a chapter in the forthcoming digital e-text, book project, Informal Knowledge in Complex Societies: Folklore in the Contemporary World. The chapter, “The Wisdom of Sheer Physicality: Moving and Learning,” is co-authored with fellow folklorist Michael L. Murray. “Common Ground through Dialogue: Creating a Disposition for Civic Learning,” a chapter in Service-Learning and Civic Engagement: A Sourcebook” has also just come out (2015). Watterson is also co-facilitating this year’s Folklore and Education/Local Learning session at AFS addressing similar themes. E-mail:

Ayako Yoshimura currently serves as Japanese Studies Librarian at the University of Chicago. She completed a Ph.D. in Folklore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015. Her research interests encompass ethnography, autoethnography, personal experience narratives, vernacular beliefs, the supernatural, material culture (foodways, arts and crafts, clothing design and fashion), and public folklore (cultural exchange, community outreach). Her publications include “To Believe and Not to Believe: A Native Ethnography of Kanashibari in Japan” (Journal of American Folklore, 2015); “Kanashibari: Japanese Old Hag—A Case Study of Self-Analysis of Personal Experiences with the Supernatural among Three Japanese Individuals” (Culture and Tradition, 2005); “Folklore and Asian American Humor: Stereotypes, Politics, and Self,” in Asian American Identities and Practices: Folkloric Expressions in Everyday Life (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2014); and “Japanese,” in Ethnic American Food Today: A Cultural Encyclopedia (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming). E-mail:

Ziying You is an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Chinese at The College of Wooster (2015-2017). She received her Ph.D. from the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at The Ohio State University in spring 2015, and her dissertation is entitled “Competing Traditions: Village Temple Rivalries, Social Actors, and Contested Narratives in Contemporary China.” She has broad research interests in the intellectual history of Chinese folklore studies, individual creativity in storytelling and performing arts, the dynamics of folk beliefs and popular religion, foodways, folkloric documentary, and grassroots agency in the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. Her recent publications include “Shifting Actors and Power Relations: Contentious Local Responses to the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Contemporary China” (2015) in Journal of Folklore Research (volume 52, issue 2-3),
and “Entertaining Deities and Humans with Performances of Puju (Puzhou Opera) at a Temple Fair in Yangxie Village, Southwestern Shanxi, May 29-June 2, 2013” in CHINOPERL: Journal of Chinese Oral and Performing Literature (forthcoming). E-mail:

Kyoim Yun is an Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Kansas. Her research interest areas include ritual, festival, tourism, heritage studies, and regional/national identity issues. She served as guest editor for the special issue of Folklore Forum on “Folklore of East Asia” (Fall 2007), and published several articles, including “The 2002 World Cup and a Local Festival in Cheju: Global Dreams and the Commodification of Shamanism” (Journal of Korean Studies Vol. 11, no. 1, 2006), “Negotiating a Korean National Myth: Dialogic Interplay and Entextualization in an Ethnographic Encounter” (Journal of American Folklore. Vol. 124, No. 494, 2011), and “The Economic Imperative of UNESCO Recognition: A South Korean Shamanic Ritual” (Journal of Folklore Research Vol. 52, No. 2/3, 2015). Her article, “Spiritual Entrepreneurship: Negotiating the Ritual Marketplace on Contemporary Cheju Island,” will be published in Journal of Ritual Studies in 2016. While revising her first book on ritual economy of shamanism on Cheju Island, South Korea, she recently began new ethnographic fieldwork on the Temple Stay in the context of the prevailing therapeutic ethos in South Korea. E-mail:

Yuanhao (Graham) Zhao is a Ph.D. Candidate of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at The Ohio State University. His research interests are in Chinese Muslim minority studies, and especially his own folk, the Chinese Hui Muslims. His research tries to deal with tensions between the Hui’s imagined ways of being and their lived experiences, between the Hui and “society” widely defined, and also among themselves, without assigning them a unified identity. Graham just finished his fieldwork in a Hui village of North China. His fieldwork mainly focused on the village marketplace; narratives about Hui communities; interethnic, inter-gender and interpersonal relationships, supernatural experiences and so forth. He is now writing his dissertation. E-mail:

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