Lucas A Wolf

Adjunct Professor (East Asia) World Languages

I started teaching Chinese language at Emory and Henry in Fall 2021. Since then I have expanded my course offerings to include CORE courses on Chinese drama (CORE 100) and tales of the supernatural (CORE 300). Although my specialty lay in traditional Chinese culture (particularly literature and religion), my interests involve East Asian culture as a whole. I believe that just as culture doesn’t confine itself to arbitrary borders, neither should we.

My research focuses on ritual practices of healing and exorcism in China’s earliest native organized religion, Daoism, as well as its intersection with Buddhism and other popular religious practices. The practices I examine appear throughout the medieval Chinese world and are described in short stories and anecdotes (among other literary works) as well as scriptures, hagiographies, and ritual manuals. Aside from demonstrating our unfettered creativity as people, such materials also allow us the opportunity to reexamine our personal assumptions about what it means to be human, our relationship with the divine, and our place in this corporeal realm. 

I love working with students in the classroom as we explore these materials together, guiding discussions and debates on matters related to the composition of the body, the role of the spirit(s), the relationship between the living and the dead, and the function of a good story in the mix. 

My wife and I are recent emigres to southwestern Virginia and are enjoying the moderate climate and picturesque scenery of the area. We have recently welcomed a new addition to our family, who is keeping us even busier than our two dogs (one of whom may indeed be possessed). 


  • Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, PhD., East Asian Languages and Civilization (Chinese), 2022.
  • University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, MA, East Asian Studies (Chinese), 2007.
  • University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, BA, East Asian Studies, 2004.


Emory & Henry College

  • CHI 101: Beginning Chinese
  • CHI 102: Beginning Chinese II
  • CORE 100: Painted Faces: Love, Death, and Identity in Chinese Drama
  • CORE 300: Chinese Ghost Stories

Arizona State University

  • CHI 294: Chinese Ghost Stories
  • CHI 336: Interpreting China’s Classics
  • CHI 194: Gateway to China
  • CHI 343: The Daoist Body
  • CHI 101: First Year Chinese I
  • CHI 120: Introduction to Chinese Culture


Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “Ritual Refashioned: Buddhism, Lingbao, and the Adaptation of Vows (願Yuan),” Studies in Chinese Religions 6.2, (2020): 180-200.

Encyclopedia Entries

  • “Jinsuo liuzhu yin” in The Database of Religious History, University of British Columbia (in preparation 2022).

 Conference Proceedings

  • “願雙重身份與社團:佛教、靈寶及「願」的改編” (Doubled Community and Identity: Buddhism, Lingbao, and the Adaptation of Yuan 願), trans. 王璇 Xuan Wang-Wolf, in《身份认同及群体建构:第四届五台山信仰国际学术研讨会论文集》(Identity and Networks: Collected Conference Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium at Mt. Wutai), 478-494. Beijing: Zongjiao wenhua chubanshe, 2019.

Book Reviews

  • Jia, Jinhua, Gender, Power, and Talent: The Journey of Daoist Priestesses in Tang China in China Review International (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press) 24.1, (2019): 31-35.
  • Pettit, J.E.E. and Chao-jan Chang, A Library of Clouds: The Scripture of the Immaculate Numen and the Rewriting of Daoist Texts in Journal of Chinese Religions 49.2 (November 2021): 333–335.
  • Mozina, David J., Knotting the Banner: Ritual and Relationship in Daoist Practice in Studies in Chinese Religions (forthcoming 2022).
  • Kleeman, Terry, Celestial Masters: History and Ritual in Early Daoist Communities in Journal of Asian Studies (in preparation 2022).

Conference Presentations (Selected)

  • 2021 “Matchmakers, Healers, and Exorcists: Tracing Kaozhao 考召Practice in Tang-era Accounts.” American Oriental Society (Western Branch), University of California, Santa Barbara (Online Meeting), Oct. 21–23.
  • 2021 “Crime and Punishment: Divine Retribution and Restitution in Medieval Daoist Accounts.” Graduate Student Virtual Conference, “An Inauspicious Year,” Arizona State University (Online Meeting), Feb. 12-13.
  • 2020 “Guardians of the Divine: The Generals of the Three Primes in Daoist Practice.” American Oriental Society (Western Branch), University of Hong Kong/University of Colorado, Boulder (Hybrid Meeting), Nov. 6-8.
  • 2019 “Still Waters and Subduing Tigers: The Divine Career of Lady Fan 樊夫人,” American Oriental Society (Western Branch), University of California, Davis, Oct. 24-26.
  • 2018 “The Implausibility of the Impossible: Addressing the Role of the Fantastic in Chinese Religion,” the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions Roundtable Luncheon, American Academy of Religion, Denver, CO, Nov. 17-20.
  • 2018 “Punishing Ghosts and Summoning Gods: Establishing History and Practice in the Jinsuo liuzhu yin”, American Oriental Society (Western Branch), Stanford University, CA, Oct. 18-21.
  • 2018 “Double Community and Identity: Buddhism, Lingbao, and the Adaptation of Yuan 願 (‘commitments’)”, International Identity and Networks in Buddhism and East Asian Religions Conference, Mt. Wutai, Shanxi, China, Jul. 3-5.
  • 2018 “Reflected Glory: Tang Xuanzong, Ye Fashan, and a Late Tang Fu”, SILC Graduate Colloquium, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, March 23rd.
  • 2017 “In Starlight Clad: Late-Tang Daoist Practice and the Northern Dipper”, American Oriental Society (Western Branch), Tempe, Arizona, Oct. 19-21

Professional Experience

Professional Experience

  • Research fellow at the Institute for Humanities Research (Aug. 2014–May 2015)
  • Research Assistant/Editor (2012–2013)

Academic Service

  • 2021 Graduate Student Virtual Conference, “An Inauspicious Year,” Arizona State University (Online Meeting), (Executive committee).
  • 2015 Institute for Humanities Research Fellows Symposium: “The Politics of Emotion”, Tempe, Arizona (Facilitated and Chaired).
  • 2015 “To Remember, Re-member, and Disremember: Instrumentality of Traditional Chinese Texts”, Tempe, Arizona (Attended and Facilitated).
  • 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Phoenix, Arizona (Assisted and Facilitated).

Professional Affiliations

  • American Oriental Society (2016–2022)
  • American Academy of Religions (2018–2022)
  • Modern Language Association (2018–2021)
  • Tang Studies Society (2018–2022)


Wiley Hall, Emory & Henry College