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 designated as “Highly Cited Researcher” by ISIHighlyCited.com. Turchin has authored six books (see Books), including Secular Cycles (with Sergey Nefedov, Princeton, 2009), and War and Peace and War (Penguin, 2005).
His most recent book is Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth. He is now working on a book that analyzes American history, 1780-2015, with cliodynamic 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
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.