Viktor Shmagin

Photo of Viktor Shmagin

Visiting Assistant Professor of History

Hollander Hall Rm 330

Spring 2024 Class Hours

Mon / Thu – 2:35 pm to 3:50 pm
Tue / Thu – 11:20 am to 12:35 pm

Spring 2024 Office Hours

Mon – 1:15 pm to 2:15 pm
Tue – 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Thu – 1:00 pm to 2:15 pm
And By Appointment


B.A. Oberlin College (2004)
M.A. University of California, Santa Barbara (2010)
Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara (2016)


Viktor Shmagin is a historian of modern and early modern Japan, specializing in Japan’s foreign relations with Russia and Japanese colonialism. He was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, in the Former USSR and emigrated to the USA as a child. He has also spent five years living in Japan, where he taught English and conducted historical research. He received his BA from Oberlin College, and his MA and PhD from the University of California Santa Barbara. Before coming to Williams, he taught at Fort Lewis and Colby Colleges, teaching global, East Asian, and Japanese history. He is currently adapting his dissertation, Diplomacy and Force, Borders and Borderlands: Japan-Russia Relations in the Transformation of Japanese Political Culture in the Edo and Early Meiji Periods into a book manuscript. Viktor has published his research in venues such as The International History Review, The Journal of Japanese Studies, and most recently Education About Asia. He has also received several fellowships to support his research and teaching, including a Fulbright IIE grant to conduct research at the Historiographical Institute of the University of Tokyo. In his spare time he enjoys amateur astronomy, cross-country skiing, board games and spending time with family and friends.

Research Interests

Japan (modern and early modern)
Russo-Japanese relations

Selected Publications

“The Imperial Peace of 1813: The Golovnin Incident and Russian Recognition of Tokugawa Authority in Ezo.” Journal of Japanese Studies 48-1 (Winter 2022): 63-92.

“Japan Meets Russia,” Education About Asia 27-1 (Spring 2022): 28-34.

“They Fear Us, yet Cling to Us: Russian Negotiations with Tsushima Domain Officials during the 1861 Tsushima Incident.” International History Review 39-3 (2017): 521-545. [Published initially in online format, August 31, 2016]