Peter Turchin is a scientist and an author who wants to understand how human societies evolve, and why we see such a staggering degree of inequality in economic performance and effectiveness of governance among nations (see Research Interests). Peter’s approach to answering these questions blends theory building with the analysis of data. He is the founder of a new transdisciplinary field of Cliodynamics, which uses the tools of complexity science and cultural evolution to study the dynamics of historical empires and modern nation-states.
Peter has published two hundred articles, including a dozen in such top journals as Nature, Science, and PNAS (see Academic Publications). His publications are frequently cited and in 2004 he was desginated as “Highly Cited Researcher” by ISIHighlyCited.com. Turchin has authored five books (see Books). The most recent include Secular Cycles (with Sergey Nefedov, Princeton, 2009), and War and Peace and War (Plume, 2005).
He is now writing a popular book on conflict and cooperation in the evolution of human societies.
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
Building a Historical and Archaeological Database
Currently Peter’s main research effort is directed at coordinating the Seshat Databank—a massive historical database of cultural evolution that is gathering and systematically organizing the vast amount of knowledge about past human societies, held collectively by thousands of historians and archaeologists.