On Tuesday I am traveling southwest to visit several universities in Arizona and Southern California. Here’s the schedule of lectures that I will be giving:
Wednesday Feb. 15 at 12:00 noon: Colloquium on Evolution of Social Complexity (Arizona State University)
Tuesday Feb. 27 at 3:00 pm: Marschak Colloquium (UCLA)
Thursday March 1 at 12:30 pm: Sociology Department (UC Riverside)
If you happen to be in the vicinity, I’ll be happy to see you at one of these events!
The lecture I will be giving is brand-new (in fact, I am still finishing the statistical analyses on which it is based). Here’s the title and abstract:
Over the past 10,000 years human societies evolved from “simple”—small egalitarian groups, integrated by face-to-face interactions, —to “complex”—huge anonymous societies of millions, characterized by great differentials in wealth and power, extensive division of labor, elaborate governance structures, and sophisticated information systems. One aspect of this “major evolutionary transition” that continues to excite intense debate is the origins and evolution of the state—a politically centralized territorial polity with internally specialized administrative organization. Different theories proposed by early theorists and contemporary social scientists make different predictions about causal processes driving the rise of state-level social organization. In my talk I will use Seshat: Global History Databank to empirically test predictions of several such theories. I will present results of a dynamical regression analysis that estimates how the evolution of specialized governance structures was affected by such factors as social scale (population, territorial expansion), social stratification, provision of public goods, and information systems.