Office:   Ben Shahn 118
Phone:   (973) 720-2503
Office Hours:   By Appointment

Department: Art
Area Specialization: Area Specialization: Art History: Pre-Columbian Art, Asian Art, Silk Road Art

Professor Zhang grew up in a little but well-known town Hetian (Khotan) on the Silk Road in the Taklamakan desert in the northwest of China. There, she experienced the “Great Cultural Revolution” in 1960s and 70s, and went to a Re-Education farm in mid-1970s. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature in the early 1980s, she went on to study Western Art History at the graduate level in Beijing, obtaining an MA in Art History at Chinese Academy of Arts in 1985. Since 1987, she has lived and studied in the United States, where she obtained a second art history MA at the University of Cincinnati in 1990, and a Ph. D in Pre-Columbian Art from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996. She joined William Paterson University in 1998, and has been teaching the Arts of the Pre-Columbian Americas, Asian Art, Arts along the Silk Road, Approaches to Non-Western Art, and Understanding Art.

Professor Zhang’s research interests deal with comparative studies between Pre-Columbian American cultures and Asian cultures, and Silk Road art traditions. She has published scholarly articles in ancient American ritual arts and writing systems, issues of early relationships between India and China, Central Asia and China, and Iran and China. Her current research projects include an iconographical study on the newly discovered Olmec writing, a research on several newly discovered 4th-7th century carpets found in Chinese Central Asian region, and two long-term writing projects: a book manuscript on the comparisons between ancient Americas and Asia, and another book manuscript on the Maya civilization. Professor Zhang was twice awarded a NEH grant; one allowed her to travel to Mesoamerica to study the Maya world, and the other granted her to study Silk Road topics at East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was awarded for the year of 2014-2015 US Fulbright Scholar Regional Research grant to conduct researches in Central and South Asia.

Prof. Zhang writes in both English and Chinese. Those interested can find her blog with this link: