Peter Turchin is a Professor at the University of Connecticut, External Professor at the Complexity Science Hub-Vienna, and Research Associate in the School of Anthropology at the University of Oxford. He conducts research on the cultural evolution and historical dynamics of past and present societies. He is the author of seven books, including War and Peace and War (2005), Secular Cycles (2009), and most recently Ultrasociety (2016) and Ages of Discord (2016).
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.
- Professor at the University of Connecticut in the Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology, and Mathematics
- External Professor at Complexity Science Hub Vienna
- Research Associate in the School of Anthropology, University of Oxford
- Founding Director of Seshat: Global History Databank
- Editor-in-Chief of Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution