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Qiong Zhang
Associate Professor

Phone: 336.758.2538
Office: Tribble B-11


Qiong Zhang is a native of southern China. She received her BA and MA in philosophy from Wuhan University, China, and her Ph.D. in the history of science from Harvard University. She has conducted research and teaching at Harvard, UC Berkeley, UCLA, WCSU, and SIUC before moving to Winston Salem, North Carolina in fall 2008. At Wake Forest, she teaches surveys and upper-level courses on Chinese history, survey of world civilizations to 1500, and a first-year seminar on traditional Chinese science and medicine.

Her research fields are early modern Chinese intellectual and cultural history and the history of China’s encounter with the West since the sixteenth century. Her book on the reception of the notion of the globe in seventeenth century China, entitled, Making the New World Their Own: Chinese Encounters with Jesuit Science in the Age of Discovery, was published by Brill in June 2015. For details, please see: (

Professor Zhang received the 2015 Academic Excellence Award of the Chinese Historians in the United States (CHUS) on account of this book.

Her new book projects explore the knowledge ecology of early modern China, focusing on the cultural context and social networks in which Bowu learning (or natural history) and meteorological knowledge were produced and circulated.



B.A.      Wuhan University, China 1983
M.A.     Wuhan University, China 1986
Ph.D.    Harvard University 1996

Academic Appointments:
Wake Forest University.  Associate Professor (2015- ); Assistant Professor (2008-2015)
Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  Assistant Professor (2005-2008)
Western Connecticut State University.  Assistant Professor (1999-2002)
University of California, Los Angeles.  Visiting Assistant Professor (1998-99)

Click here — Zhang CV September 2018 –for the complete CV.


  • HST 103 World Civilizations to 1500
    This course surveys the evolution of world civilizations from around 3500 BCE to 1500 CE.  Within a roughly chronological framework, it seeks to highlight the broad patterns of development among major human communities, especially those on the Eurasian continent and in Africa, with respect to their political and social institutions, economic life, values, intellectual traditions and religious beliefs.
  • FYS 100 Mystery of Qi: Traditional Chinese Perspectives on Mind, Body and Personal Well-Being
    This seminar investigates how cultural constructs inform the ways in which people think about, experience and govern their bodies.  In particular, we will examine the conceptions of Qi (Ch’i), primordial or vital energy, in classical Chinese cosmology and medicine and the critical roles they played in the development of Chinese food culture, a variety of therapeutic methods, religious practices, styles of artistic performance, visual and literary representations of the body, and the martial arts traditions.  We will highlight the distinctive features of the Chinese Qi-centered view of the body through comparisons with those in classical Greek medicine and modern biomedicine.  We will also explore the scientific and epistemological issues involved in the efforts by modern laboratory scientists to capture and measure Qi. This course will be an interdisciplinary exercise drawing on the analytical tools from anthropology, the history of science, art history, literary studies, philosophy and religion.
  • HST 244 Pre-Modern China
    This course surveys Chinese history from high antiquity to 1850. It covers such basic themes as the evolution of political, legal and social institutions, the development of major philosophical and religious traditions, and the achievements in science, technology, literature and the arts. Students are invited to explore these themes by engaging a variety of primary sources, ranging from archeological artifacts, historical documents, philosophical texts, poems and novels to art works.
  • HST 245 Modern China
    This course studies modern China from 1600 to the present, focusing on the major political, economic, and cultural transformations occurring in China during this period within the context of modernization, imperialism, and (semi) colonialism, world wars and civil wars, revolution and reform, and the ongoing processes of globalization.
  • HST-311W: Special Topics — Economy and Society in Post-Mao China
    The turn from Mao to the Market in 1978 has resulted in a Chinese miracle that at once excites and baffles the world. The unfolding of a series of reforms that began that year has produced unprecedented economic growth and radical social transformation. Just exactly what this growth and transformation entail for the people of the People’s Republic, both men and women, across different geographical regions, ethnic groups, and social classes? In this course we will delve into this question by juxtaposing a close reading of official pronouncements and scholarly studies of post-Mao China with a perusal of oral histories, personal memoirs, documentary films, music, art, blog posts, and other forms of social media. All required readings are in English.
  • HST 343 The Silk Road 
  • The Silk Road summons visions of caravans or freighters laden with silk, spices, and other exotics making their way from China and Japan to the Mediterranean and the British Isles. This course explores the global exchanges across land and sea from the Bronze Age to the Early Modern Era and their impact on the states and stateless societies connected by the Silk Road.
  • HST 352 Ten Years of Madness:  The Chinese Cultural Revolution, 1966 to 1976
    This course offers a history of the Chinese Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976.  The class examines the origins, consequences, and collective memories of the catastrophic political events and the social and cultural transformations that took place in China during the last decade of Mao’s leadership.
  • HST 390. Global Cities in Chinese History
    In this research seminar, we will explore China’s dynamic interactions with the outside world in its long history and the resultant multiplicity of Chinese culture through a series of case studies in Chinese urban history. In the first seven weeks of the semester, we will meet in class to examine the primary sources and secondary literature pertaining to the following six historical and modern global cities in China: Chang’an, an administrative capital of the Chinese empire from the Han (206 BCE to 220 CE) to the Tang Dynasty (618-907); Dunhuang, a garrison town on the northwestern frontier in pre-modern China that grew into a thriving commercial and cultural center owing to its location on the eastern end of the “Silk Road”; Canton (Guangzhou), the southern gate of the Chinese empire and a major center of Chinese maritime trade with southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Arab world since the Tang dynasty; and Macao, Hong Kong and Shanghai, three modern Chinese cities which owe much of their existence and current prosperity to varied degrees of Western colonial influences in Chinese history, especially during the Treaty Century from 1842 to 1943. From the eighth week on, the students will carry out their independent research projects on any global city in mainland China and Taiwan during any historical period. They will engage various related primary sources, including those written in English or translated into English, and secondary literature in their work and produce a substantial research paper of 25 pages or longer at the end of the semester. Prior knowledge of Chinese history or culture desirable but not required.
  • HST 390 B Research Seminar: Global Encounters in the Age of Discovery
  • This course explores a variety of cross-cultural encounters that took place around the globe during the Age of Discovery (ca. 1450 to 1800), focusing on the interactions between European agents — explorers, pirates, traders, colonial administrators, and Catholic missionaries, among others – and their local interlocutors of the Americas and Asia.  In particular, it asks how such exchanges facilitated the production and spread of new knowledge for all parties involved, culminating in the discovery of many “new worlds” – formerly unknown lands and peoples, new ideas and intellectual traditions, and new understanding of human history and self-identity.  All required readings are in English.

Monographs and Edited Collections

  • Making the New World Their Own: Chinese Encounters with Jesuit Science in the Age of Discovery (Brill, 2015).  435pp.  Winner of 2015 Academic Excellence Award of the Chinese Historians in the United States (CHUS).  For more information about this book, click here.

For a complete list of publications, click CV.

Articles and Essays

  • “Parallels, Engagement, and Integration: The Ricci Maps and Their Afterlives in Ming-Qing China as a Case Study of an Intertwined Global Early Modernity” (38 pgs), invited contribution in a conference volume, Reimagining the Globe and Cultural Exchange: From the World Maps of Ricci and Verbiest to Google Earth, edited by Laura Hostetler and M. Antoni J. Ucerler, S.J. (forthcoming with Brill)
  • “The Jesuit Heresiological Discourse as Enlightenment Project in Early Modern China,” Journal of World History  Vol. 28, No. 1 (2017): 31-60.
  • “Matteo Ricci’s World Maps in Late Ming Discourse of Exotica,” Horizons: Seoul Journal of Humanities Vol. 1, No. 2 (December 2010): 215-50.
  • “From ‘Dragonology’ to Meteorology: Aristotelian Natural Philosophy and the Beginning of the Decline of the Dragon in China,” Early Science and Medicine 14.1-3 (2009): 340-68.
  • “Hybridizing Scholastic Psychology with Chinese Medicine: A Seventeenth-Century Chinese Catholic’s Conceptions of Xin (Mind and Heart),” Early Science and Medicine 13.4 (August 2008): 313-60.
  • “About God, Demons, and Miracles: The Jesuit Discourse on the Supernatural in Late Ming China,” Early Science and Medicine 4.1 (February 1999): 1-36.
  • “Demystifying Qi: The Politics of Cultural Translation and Interpretation in the Early Jesuit Mission to China,” in Tokens of Exchange: The Problem of Translation in Global Circulation, ed. Lydia Liu (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999), 74-106.
  • “Translation as Cultural Reform: Jesuit Scholastic Psychology in the Transformation of the Confucian Discourse on Human Nature,” in The Jesuits: Culture, Learning and the Arts, 1540-1773, eds. G. A. Bailey, S. Harris, T.F. Kennedy, S.J., and J.W. O’Malley, S.J. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999), 364-79.   An updated version of this article was reprinted in Revista Portuguesa de História Do Livro (Lisbon) Vol. 26 (2010): 365-393.

For a complete list of publications, click CV.



Prof. Zhang has reviewed many scholarly books for the Journal of Early Modern HistoryJournal of Jesuit Studies, Chinese Historical Review, Ancient West and East, and Journal of World History (book titles omitted here)


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