Peter Bearman


  • Director, Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics

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Peter Bearman is the Director of INCITE and the Cole Professor of Social Science. At INCITE, he serves as the co-founding director of the Oral History Master of Arts program and leads INCITE’s REALM, LAE, and Autism initiatives, among others. A specialist in network analysis, he co-designed the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which was awarded the 2016 Golden Goose Prize.

A recipient of the NIH Director's Pioneer Award in 2007, Bearman investigated the social determinants of the autism epidemic. He has also conducted research in historical sociology, including Relations into Rhetorics: Local Elite Social Structure in Norfolk, England, 1540-1640 (Rutgers, 1993). He is the author of Doormen (University of Chicago Press, 2005) and the co-editor of the Handbook of Analytical Sociology (Oxford, 2011). His most recent book, with Adam Reich, is Working for Respect: Community and Conflict at Walmart (Columbia University Press, 2018).

He leads the Social Science Research Council scholarly borderland project on Big Data and Historical Sociology and contributes to the Russell Sage Foundation initiative in computational social science.

He is currently working on models for event sequences, social action, and strategies for qualitative research design; social and semantic networks, the neural signatures of social relations; the Study on White People; and leading the REALM project on fair labor recruitment. A 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.