Photo of Peter Shapinsky
Area of Specialization

East Asian history Premodern and modern China, Japan, Korea; maritime history

Office Location
UHB 3050
Phone Number

Dr. Peter Shapinsky is a Professor of East Asian history in the Department of History at the University of Illinois, Springfield. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan. Dr. Shapinsky is a 2016 recipient of the University of Illinois University Scholar Award,


Dr. Shapinsky is a specialist in the maritime history of medieval Japan. His research interests include Japanese pirates and.maritime exchange in premodern East Asia; cartographic history, and conceptualizations of space in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century East Asia; early modern global networks of exchange and cross-cultural interaction; pirates and outlawry in East Asian and comparative contexts; gender history of Japan and East Asia. 


Lords of the SeaPirates, Violence, and Commerce in Late Medieval Japan (Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2014).

“Merchants, Monks, and Marauders: Medieval Japan Over and Beyond the Seas,” in The New Cambridge History of Japan, vol. 1 Premodern Japan (Cambridge University Press), forthcoming.

 “Japanese Pirates and the East Asian Maritime World, 1200–1600,” in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History, edited by David Ludden (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 1-36 doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190277727.013.63.

“Court & Countryside: Landholding & Provincial Governance, 1200-1600,” Routledge Handbook of Premodern Japanese History (London: Routledge, 2017), 138-156.

 “Envoys and Escorts: Representation and Performance among Koxinga’s Japanese Pirate Ancestors,” in Sea Rovers, Silver, and Samurai: Maritime East Asia in Global History, 1550–1700, edited by Tonio Andrade and Xing Hang (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2016), 38-64.

“The World from the Waterline,” in Cartographic Japan: A History in Maps, edited by Kären Wigen, Sugimoto Fumiko, and Cary Karacas (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), 16-19.

“From Sea Bandits to Sea Lords: Nonstate Violence and Pirate Identities in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Japan,” in Elusive Pirates, Pervasive Smugglers: Violence and Clandestine Trade in the Greater China Seas, ed. Robert Antony (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010), 27-41.

“Predators, Protectors, and Purveyors: Pirates and Commerce in Late Medieval Japan,” Monumenta Nipponica, 64:2 (2009): 273-313.

“With the Sea as their Domain: Pirates and Maritime Lordship in Medieval Japan,” in Seascapes: Maritime Histories, Littoral Cultures, and Transoceanic Exchanges ed., Jerry Bentley, Kären Wigen, and Renate Bridenthal (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2007), 221-238.

Polyvocal Portolans: Nautical Charts and Hybrid Maritime Cultures in Early Modern East Asia,” Early Modern JapanXIV (2006): 4-26.


Professor Shapinsky teaches comparative societies courses on premodern and modern East Asian history (approved for IAI Humanities). He teaches core courses for the history department on historical methods. His history seminars include HIS 482, Samurai in History and Romance. He offers several ECCE Global Awareness courses: HIS 479 “From Vikings to Hackers: A Pirate’s World History,” HIS 471/CAP355 “Pacific War: World War II in Asia;” and HIS 486 "Exhibiting Asia: TransPacific Material Culture." This last course is offered in collaboration with the Illinois State Museum and offers students the opportunity to work hands on with artifacts in the Illinois State Museum collection to build an online museum exhibit.

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