International Society for Quantitative History

QH Webinar Series

Cultural macroevolution: Understanding the rise of large-scale complex societies in human history

09:00 | Thursday, April 22, 2021

Zoom Webinar

English

Peter Turchin

Peter Turchin

Project Leader and Professor, Complexity Science Hub Vienna and University of Connecticut

Jon Bodsworth, Copyrighted free use, via Wikimedia Commons

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 with 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. Theories proposed by early philosophers and contemporary social scientists make different predictions about causal processes driving the rise of state-level social organization. Evolutionary anthropologist Peter Turchin uses the framework of Cultural Evolution and data in Seshat: Global History Databank to empirically test predictions of several such theories. In particular, Peter Turchin analyzes how the evolution of specialized governance structures was affected by such factors as social scale (population, territorial expansion), social stratification, information systems, intensity of warfare, and the productivity of agriculture. In this Quantitative History Webinar, Peter Turchin of Complexity Science Hub Vienna and University of Connecticut explores how these empirical results support the idea that a major evolutionary force explaining the rise of large-scale complex human societies, organized as states was Cultural Multi-Level Selection.

Live on Zoom on April 22, 2021
09:00 Hong Kong/Beijing/Singapore | 10:00 Tokyo | 11:00 Sydney
21:00 Previous day New York Time

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Zoom Webinar

Peter Turchin

English

The Quantitative History Webinar Series aims to provide researchers, teachers, and students with an online intellectual platform to keep up to date with the latest research in the field, promoting the dissemination of research findings and interdisciplinary use of quantitative methods in historical research. The Series, now in its third year, is co-organized by the International Society for Quantitative History, HKU Business School, and Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. 量化歷史網上講座系列由香港大學陳志武和馬馳騁教授聯合發起,旨在介紹前沿量化歷史研究成果、促進同仁交流,推廣量化方法在歷史研究中的應用。本系列講座由國際量化歷史學會、香港大學經管學院和香港人文社會研究所全力支持和承辦。

Conveners: Professor Zhiwu Chen & Dr. Chicheng Ma (HKU Business School)

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