Department ofHistory

Gregory Smits

Gregory Smits

Professor of History and Asian Studies

211 Weaver Building

University Park, PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae:


PhD, University of Southern California
MA, University of Hawaii
BA, University of Florida
Gregory Smits Headshot



I have conducted research on a variety of topics and time periods. What they all have in common is a connection to Japan, broadly defined. Past research topics include, Confucianism, political economy, earthquakes, volcanoes, seismology, maritime networks, technology and environmental history. My current research focuses on the Ryukyu islands between the tenth and seventeenth centuries.

Recent Publications:

Early Ryukyuan History: A New Model. University of Hawai’i Press. Forthcoming (2024).

“Earthquakes in Historical Context.” In De-Min Tao and Gary P. Leupp, eds., The Tokugawa World (Routledge, 2021): 99-116.

Maritime Ryukyu, 1050-1650. University of Hawai’i Press (2019).

“Rethinking Early Ryukyuan History.” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 17, Issue 7, Number 1, (April 1, 2019)

Recent Courses:

HIST 010 – World History I
HIST 011 – World History II
HIST 122 – History of Science I
HIST 123 – History of Science II


Areas of Specialization: