COVID-19 Symptom Attestation

Professor Diana Wright to be honored by Penn State professor in lecture April 27

Western Today staff

Gregory Smits, an associate professor of history and Asian studies at Pennsylvania State University will speak on the transformation of early-modern Japan at 4 p.m., Monday, April 27, in Science Lecture Hall 120.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

Smits’ lecture is titled “The Transformation of Early-modern Japan, 1985-2015.” It is a tribute to the scholarship of Diana Wright, a historian and professor of Early-modern Japan who taught in the History department and East Asian Studies at Western from 1997 until her death in December 2014.

Wright earned her B.A. in East Asian History and Anthropology and her M.A. in Japanese History from the University of Michigan. She earned her Ph.D. in Japanese History at the University of Toronto. Wright was the author of several important articles dealing with the history of women and gender in early-modern Japan. “Serving the Karmic ‘Ties That Bind’: The Divorce Temple Mantokuji” appeared in Monumenta Nipponica, a biannual academic journal of Japanese studies, in 1997. “Female Combatants and Japan’s Meiji Restoration: The Case of Aizu” was published in War in History in 2001 and “Female Crime and State Punishment in Early Modern Japan” was published in the Journal Of Women’s History in 2004.

Smits has taught at Penn State since 1997. He earned his B.A. in history from the University of Florida and his M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Southern California and he is the author of three books. “Visions of Ryukyu: Identity and Ideology in Early-Modern Though and Politics” was published in 1999 by the University of Hawaii Press. “Seismic Japan: The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake” was published in 2013, also by the University of Hawaii Press. “When the Earth Roars: Lessons from the History of Earthquakes in Japan” was published in 2014 by Rowman and Littlefield. Smits has also published more than twenty articles and book chapters.

This event is sponsored Western Washington University’s Department of History; the Department of Liberal Studies; East Asian Studies; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

For more information contact Kevin Leonard, chair and professor at Western’s Department of History, at 360-650-3041 or

Click the heart to favorite

Your feedback is crucial to telling Western's story.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 10:23am