Peter Turchin

Curriculum Vitae

Peter Turchin is an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Connecticut who works in the field of historical social science that he and his colleagues call Cliodynamics. His research interests lie at the intersection of social and cultural evolution, historical macrosociology, economic history and cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Currently he investigates a set of broad and interrelated questions. How do human societies evolve? In particular, what processes explain the evolution of ultrasociality—our capacity to cooperate in huge anonymous societies of millions? Why do we see such a staggering degree of inequality in economic performance and effectiveness of governance among nations? Turchin uses the theoretical framework of cultural multilevel selection to address these questions. Currently his main research effort is directed at coordinating the Seshat Databank project, which builds a massive historical database of cultural evolution that will enable us to empirically test theoretical predictions coming from various social evolution theories.

Turchin has published 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including a dozen in Nature, Science, and PNAS. His publications are frequently cited and in 2004 he was designated as “Highly cited researcher” by ISIHighlyCited.com. Turchin has authored seven books. His most recent book is Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth (Beresta Books, 2016).

Recent Posts

October 19, 2015 in Blogs, Focus Articles

The Role of Ritual in the Evolution of Social Complexity: Five predictions and a drum roll

To overcome human frailties, a computerized database of global history has long been needed. Seshat: Global History Databank offers just that: a vast collection of information gleaned from the work…
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February 19, 2013 in Politics

Debate: Public Money Spent on Social Science

Politicians to propose cutting the roughly $11 million in NSF cash that funds Political Science research.
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February 7, 2013 in Economy

Return Of The Oppressed

From the Roman Empire to our own Gilded Age, inequality moves in cycles. The future looks like a rough ride.
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