Peter Turchin is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut; Research Associate in the School of Anthropology, University of Oxford; and Vice-President of the Evolution Institute. He conducts research on the cultural evolution and historical dynamics of past and present societies. He is the author of five books, including Secular Cycles (Princeton, 2009), War and Peace and War (Plume, 2005), and Historical Dynamics: Why States Rise and Fall (Princeton, 2003).
Peter Turchin was trained as a theoretical biologist, but during the last fifteen years he has been working in the field of historical social science that he and his colleagues call Cliodynamics. His research interests lie at the intersection of sociocultural evolution, historical macrosociology, economic history and cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Over the past decade Turchin has been investigating two broad and interrelated questions: what general mechanisms explain the collapse of historical empires? And how did large-scale states and empires evolve in the first place? What are the social forces that hold together huge human conglomerates, and under what conditions they fail? Turchin uses the theoretical framework of cultural multilevel selection to address these questions. Currently his main research effort is directed at coordinating Seshat: Global History Databank—a massive historical database of cultural evolution that will be used in empirical tests of theoretical predictions coming from various social evolution theories.
- Professor at the University of Connecticut in the Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology, and Mathematics
- Research Associate in the School of Anthropology, University of Oxford
- Vice-President of the Evolution Institute Editor-in-Chief of Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution
- Founding Editor and Coordinator of Seshat: Global History Databank