Peter Turchin is Project Leader at the Complexity Science Hub–Vienna, Research Associate at University of Oxford, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Connecticut. His research interests lie at the intersection of social and cultural evolution, historical macrosociology, economic history, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. A founder of the field of Cliodynamics, his books include Ultrasociety (2106), Ages of Discord (2016), and The Great Holocene Transformation (forthcoming in 2022).
Peter Turchin was trained as a theoretical biologist, but during the last twenty 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? More specifically, 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 our team is using in empirical tests of theoretical predictions coming from various social evolution theories.
- Project Leader for Social Complexity and Collapse, Complexity Science Hub Vienna
- Research Associate in the School of Anthropology, University of Oxford
- Emeritus Professor at the University of Connecticut in the Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology, and Mathematics
- Founding Director of Seshat: Global History Databank
- Editor-in-Chief of Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution