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Gregory Smits

Gregory Smits

Director of Graduate Studies

Professor of History and Asian Studies

211 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae

View CV Website


  1. PhD, University of Southern California
  2. MA, University of Hawaii
  3. BA, University of Florida


Over the years, I have conducted research in several different realms, including East Asian intellectual history, the history of earthquakes and seismology in Japan, and the history of Ryukyu (present-day Okinawa Prefecture and parts of Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan). Currently I am working on a history of technology in the premodern Ryukyu Islands. My teaching interests include world history and the history of science and technology.

Recent Publications:

Maritime Ryukyu, 1050-1650. Forthcoming, University of Hawai'i Press (estimate: summer, 2018)

"Volcanic Hazards as Components of Complex Systems: The Case of Japan," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 32, No. 6, August 17, 2015.

When the Earth Roars: Lessons from the History of Earthquakes in Japan. Rowman and Littlefield, March 2014.

Seismic Japan: The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2013.

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:

East Asia: