The Network for Experimental Research on Evolution (NERE) and Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences (IMBS) present

"Explaining the Evolution of Social Complexity: Cultural Selection of 'Ultrasocial' Norms and Institutions"
with Peter Turchin, Vice President, Evolution Institute and Professor of Biology and Anthropology, University of Connecticut

May 28, 2014
4:00 p.m.
Social Science Plaza Building A, Room 2112

Peter Turchin was trained as a theoretical biologist, but during the last fifteen 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. More specifically, he investigates 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? 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 a massive historical database of cultural evolution that will be used in empirical tests of theoretical predictions coming from various social evolution theories.

Please contact Michael Rose at if you would like to meet with Peter Turchin.


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