Kate Kirby and I have organized a symposium on databases in Cultural Evolution for the first annual meeting of the Cultural Evolution Society in Jena, Germany. The symposium will run in two one-hour sessions on Sept. 14 and Sept. 15 (according to the tentative meeting program that I saw). Here’s a brief description of the symposium.
Big data meets cultural evolution/Invited Symposium on Databases in Cultural Evolution
Despite its youth, the field of Cultural Evolution has been highly productive of general theories and mathematical models proposing explanations for major patterns in human history. It has also inspired new empirical approaches, such as behavioral experiments conducted with people coming from a great diversity of human societies. Ultimately, however, theories and models of Cultural Evolution are about social change in the very long-term. Thus, they need to be tested with archaeological and historical data on past societies. In the last few years several research groups began constructing such historical databases, with the aim to test evolutionary theories. This symposium will bring together the key players in this new research direction in Cultural Evolution. Our goal is to discuss (1) the challenges and benefits of constructing historical databases and (2) how we can integrate the efforts of different projects to avoid unnecessary duplication and to increase synergy.
And here are the talks:
- Introduction – Pete Richerson
- D-PLACE – Kate Kirby
- SESHAT – Peter Turchin
- Human Relations Area Files – Carol Ember
- Database of Religious History – Ted Slingerland
- Pulotu – Joseph Watts
- Glottobank – Quentin Atkinson/Russell Gray
- General Discussion