Integrated Search Menu

Huaiyu Chen

Profile photo
Associate Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Affiliated Faculty
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Assoc Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302

Huaiyu Chen is an associate professor of religious studies at the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, with a joint appointment at the School of International Letters and Cultures. He has also held several visiting positions in North America, Europe, and Asia, such as a membership of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 2011-2012, a Spalding Visiting Fellowship at Clare Hall of Cambridge University in 2014-2015, a visiting professorship at Beijing Normal University in June-July 2015, a visiting scholarship at Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) in Berlin in June-July, 2018, and a visiting scholarship at Institute for Religions and Ethics of Tsinghua University in August, 2018. 

  • Ph.D. Princeton University 2005
  • M.A. Beijing University
  • B.A. Beijing Normal University
Research Interests: 

My research interests include cultural and religions links between China and Central/South Asia, Buddhism and Nestorian Christianity, Religions on the Silk Road, Dunhuang Manuscripts, cultural and religious history of medieval China, Buddhist rituals and monasticism, and modern Chinese intellectual history.




1. In the Land of Tigers and Snakes: Living with Animals in Medieval Chinese Religions. Sheng Yen Series in Chinese Buddhism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2022). forthcoming.

2. Co-ed. with Edward Q. Wang, Chinese Studies in History, 53: 3 Special Issue on Dunhuang Studies, 2020.

3. Co-ed. with Rong Xinjiang, Great Journeys across Pamir. Festschrift in Honor of Professor Zhang Guangda for his Eighty-fifth Birthday. Inner Asian Library series (Leiden: Brill, 2018).

4. The Revival of Buddhist Monasticism in Medieval China. American University Studies. (New York: Peter Lang, 2007).

In Progress:

1.     Buddhism, Christianity, and Daoism along the Silk Road.

2.     The Everlasting Torch of Wisdom: Performing Stone Lanterns in Medieval Chinese Buddhism.


  1. “839-841: The Disastrous Years that Reshaped the Political Map of Central Asia.” Central Asiatic Journal vol. 65 (2022), forthcoming.
  2. “A Failed Attempt to Create an International Community of Communist East Asian Studies in 1955.” Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques 48: 2 (2022), 39-38.
  3. “Making Four Buddhist Worlds: A Reading of the Liturgies for Creating Ritual Spaces in Dunhuang Manuscripts.” Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies 4: 2 (2021), 1-36.
  4. “The Changing Images of Zodiac Animals in Medieval Chinese Buddhist Literature.” Nesir Journal of Literary Studies vol. 1 (2021), 37-54.
  5. “From Orientalism to Cultural Nationalism: Decentralizing European Buddhology in Early Twentieth-century China.” History of Humanities 6: 2 (2021), 549-569.
  6. “Orientalisms in China.” Special Issue “What’s in a Name.” Journal Of the Society for Asian Humanities 52 (2020-2021), 141-146.
  7. “The Other as the Transformed Alliance: Living with the Tiger in Medieval Chinese Daoism.” Polylog. Zeitschrift für interkulturelles Philosophieren 45 (2021), 5-22.  
  8. “From Germanist to Sinologist: The Transnational Journey of an American Progressive in Early 20th-Century China.” Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History 48: 2 (2021), 125-148.
  9. Co-authored with Min Xiangpeng. “Animals, Divination, and Climate: An Environmental Note on the Cult of the Pig in Ancient China.” ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 28 (2021), firstview article.
  10. “The Rise of the ‘Asian History’ in Mainland China in the 1950s: A Global Perspective.” Global Intellectual History 6: 4 (2021), Firstview article.
  11. “The Cult of Cintamani: On the Nature of the Dunhuang Manuscript P. 4518 (10) and its Context.” Chinese Studies in History 53: 3 (2020), 227-241.
  12. “A Study on a Stone Lantern from Dongzhang Village in Medieval China.” Studies in Chinese Religions 5: 2 (2019), 1-23.
  13. “The Road to Redemption: Killing Snakes in Medieval Chinese Buddhism.” Religions 2019, 10(4), special issue: Buddhist Beasts in Asia, 247;
  14. “Transforming Beasts and Engaging with Local Communities: Tiger Violence in Medieval Chinese Buddhism.” Pakistan Journal of Historical Studies. Vol. 3, No. 1, Special Issue “Animals without Border,” (2018), 31-60.
  15.  “The Benji jing and the Anle jing: Reflections on Two Daoist and Christian Manuscripts from Turfan and Dunhuang.” Studies in Chinese Religions vol. 1, no. 3 (Routledge, 2015), 209-228.
  16. Co-authored with Liu Zhen. “Some Reflections on an Early Mahāyāna Text Hastikakṣyasūtra.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies vol. 77, No. 2, (Cambridge, England, 2014), 293-312.
  17. “The Rise and Fall of the Scriptural Platform in Medieval Chinese Buddhism.” Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief vol. 9, no. 2 (Routledge, 2013), 140-165.
  18. “Newly Identified Khotanese Fragments in the British Library and their Chinese Parallels.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society vol. 22, no. 2 (Cambridge, England, 2012), 265-279.
  19. “A Brief Note on the Khotanese Fragment SI M 38 in the St. Petersburg Collection.” Manuscripta Orientalia: International Journal of Oriental Manuscript Research vol. 16, no. 1 (St. Petersburg, Russia, 2010), 65-67.
  20. “Chinese Language Manuscripts from Dunhuang and Turfan in the Princeton University East Asian Library.” East Asian Library Journal vol. 14, no. 2 (Princeton, NJ, 2010), 1-208, with 68 illustrations.
  21. “A Buddhist Classification of Plants and Animals in Early Tang China.” Journal of Asian History vol. 43, no. 1 (Wiesbaden, Germany, 2009), 31-51. 


  1. “Zoomancy/divination by animals.” Handbook of Chinese Divination Techniques, compiled by International Consortium for Research in Humanities (IKGF) at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, edited by Stephan N. Kory (Leiden: Brill, 2022).
  2. “Plant Science and Technology in Medieval China.” In: A Cultural History of Plants in the Post-classical Era. Ed. by Alain Touwaide. Vol. 2, Ch. 4 (London: Bloomsbury, 2022), pp. 79-99.
  3. “Shared Issues in a Shared Textual Community: Buddhism, Christianity and Daoism in Medieval China.” In: Samuel N. Lieu and Glen Thompson eds., The Church of the East in Central Asia and China (Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2020), pp. 93-109.
  4. Co-authored with Zhang Xing. “From Lion to Tiger: The Buddhist Changing Images of Apex Predators in Trans-Asian Contexts.” In: Rotem Rosen, Michal Biran, Meir shahar, and Gideon Shelach eds., Animals and Human Society in Asia: Historical and Ethical Perspectives (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), pp. 331-353.
  5. “Honoring the Dead: The Buddhist Reinvention of Funeral Literature, Ritual, and Material Culture in Early Medieval China.” In: Mu-chou Poo and H. A. Drake eds., Old Society, New Belief: Religious Transformation of China and Rome, ca. 1st-6th Centuries (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 91-105.
  6. “Notes on the Medieval Buddhist Stone Sūtras from Qionglai, Sichuan.” In: Ikeda Takumi池田巧 ed., The East Asian Studies: Collection of Articles in Honor of Professor Tokio Takata’s Retirement (Tohogaku Kenkyū ronshū: Takata Tokio kyōju Taishoku kinen ronshū), (Kyoto: Rinsen Shoten, 2014), pp. 13-28 (L).
  7.  “East Asian Transformation of Monasticism.” In: Mario Poceski ed., The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to East and Inner Asian Buddhism (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), pp. 299-318.
  8. “Society and Religious Patronage along the Silk Road: The Inscriptional Evidence from Turfan.” In: Wendy Swartz, Robert F. Campany, Yang Lu, and Jessey Choo eds., Early Medieval China: A Sourcebook (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), pp. 176--193.
  9. “Multiple Traditions in One Ritual: A Reading of the Buddhist Liturgical Texts for Lantern Ritual in Dunhuang Manuscripts.” In: Tansen Sen ed., Buddhism across Asia: Networks of Material, Intellectual and Cultural Exchange (Singapore: Institute for South East Asian Studies and New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2014), pp. 233-257.
  10. “Sharing the Karma: Some Reflections on the Dialogue between Catholicism and Buddhism.” In: James L. Heft ed., Catholicism and Interreligious Dialogue (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 153-159.
  11. “The Encounter of Nestorian Christianity with Tantric Buddhism in Medieval China.” In: Dietmar Winkler and Tang Li eds., Hidden Treasures and Intercultural Encounters: Studies on East Syriac Christianity in China and Central Asia (Berlin and Münster: LIT Verlag, 2009), pp. 195-213.
  12. “The Connection between Nestorian and Buddhist Texts in Late Tang China.” In: Roman Malek ed., The Church of the East in China and Central Asia (Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2006), pp. 93-113.


Research Activity: 
Spring 2022
Course NumberCourse Title
CHI 795Continuing Registration
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
CHI 598Special Topics
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 207Ritual, Symbol, and Myth
REL 351Buddhism
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
CHI 598Special Topics
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 307Religion: Theory and Practice
REL 351Buddhism
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
CHI 598Special Topics
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 207Ritual, Symbol, and Myth
REL 494Special Topics
CHI 598Special Topics
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
REL 351Buddhism

1. October 26-28, 2017. “The Rise of the “Asian History” in Mainland China in the 1950s: A Global Perspective.” The Conference “Conceptions of the World in Twentieth-Century Chinese Historiography.” University of Göttingen, Germany.

2. August 20-25, 2017. “Liturgies for Creating Four Mandalas in Dunhuang Manuscripts.” The XVIIIth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. Toronto, Canada.

3. November 19-22, 2016. Discussant for Panel “Buddhist Art, Law, and Manuscript Culture in Dunhuang.” The Annual Conference of American Academy of Religion, San Antonio, Texas.

4. April 15, 2016. “Theory without Borders in Comparative Area Studies: Timing States in South and East Asia.” Symposium organized by the Department of Religion and Culture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

5. November 21-24, 2015. “Living with Tigers in Medieval Chinese Religions.” 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, GA.

Honors / Awards: 

2021. Research Scholarship. Gerda Henkel Stiftung, Germany.

2018. August. Visiting Scholarship. Institute for Religion and Ethcis, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

2018. June-July. Visiting Scholarship. Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) in Berlin, Germany.

2016. Research Grant. American Academy of Religion.

2014-2015. Spalding Visiting Fellowship, Clare Hall, Cambridge University.

2011-2012. Membership. Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

2008-2009. Junior Scholar Grant. Chiang Ching-kuo Founation for International Scholarly Exchange.


Professional Associations: 

American Academy of Religion

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Association for Asian Studies

American Oriental Society

International Association for Buddhist Studies

  • Chinese Studies in History (Routledge), Editorial Board Member (2021-Present)
  • Journal of Jiangxi Culture (Nanchang), Editorial Board Member (2015 - Present)
  • Journal of Dunhuang Studies (Taiwan), Editorial Board Member (2015 - Present)
  • Studies in Chinese Religions (Routledge), Editorial Board Member (2014 - Present)
  • Singaporean Journal of Buddhist Studies, Editorial Board member (2012 - Present)
  • Journal of Humanities and Religious Studies, Editorial Board Member (2011 - Present)
  • Frontiers of History in China (Journal), Book Review Editor (2011 - Present)
Expertise Areas: