Peter Bearman


Contact |  CV  |  Publications


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 co-directs Mellon Interdisciplinary Fellows program. 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).

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.

Current Positions

2006 –             Jonathan R. Cole Professor of the Social Sciences, Columbia University
2015 –              Centennial Professor of Methodology and Sociology, London School of Economics
2012 –              Director, INCITE (Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics), Columbia University
2006 –             Director, Mellon Training Program in the Humanities and Social Sciences
2005              External Faculty, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
1999              Director, Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences, Columbia University

Previous Positions

2011-16           Global Professor of Social Research and Social Policy, NYUAD
2000-08, 11    Founding Director, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, Columbia
2007–16         Founding Co-Director, Oral History Masters of Arts. Columbia University
2007-08         Chair, Department of Statistics, Columbia University
2006-09         Founding Co-Director, Global Health Research Center in Central Asia, Columbia
2001–16          Co-Director, Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program
2001-05          Chair, Department of Sociology, Columbia University
2002-03          Visiting Professor of Sociology, DISPOS, University of Genova, Genova, Italy
1998-06          Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
1997                 Eric Voegelin Guest Professor, University of Munich (LMU), Munich, Germany
1996-97          Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1991-96           Associate Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1986-91           Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1985-86          Lecturer, Committee on Degrees in Social Studies
, Harvard University


1982-85           Ph.D. in Sociology, Harvard University
82           M.A. in Sociology, Harvard University
1974-78           B.A. in Sociology, Magna Cum Laude, Brown University 


2016    Guggenheim Award
2015    Columbia University Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching
2014    Elected, Member of the National Academy of Sciences
2012    Best Article, ISS Paper Competition, 2010-12
2011     Eliot Freidson Outstanding Publication Award, Medical Sociology Section of the American   Sociological Association, 2010-11
2009    Top 10 Autism Discoveries, Autism Speaks
2008    Elected, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2007    National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Pioneer Award
    Outstanding Article Publication Award, Mathematical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association, 2006-07
2004    Roger V. Gould Prize, American Journal of Sociology, 2003-04
1997    Elected, Sociological Research Association

Grants and Contracts

Current – Oral History (as Director of INCITE)

  • 2016-2017: Harriman Institute, Co-Principal Investigator
  • 2015-2016: Transition to Democracy in Tunisia, Principal Investigator
  • 2014-2016: Phoenix House, Oral History, Principal Investigator
  • 2014-2015: Atlantic Philanthropies, Oral History, Principal Investigator

Current – Training Grants

  • 2007-2017: Interdisciplinary Graduate Training in the Social Sciences. Mellon Foundation. Principal Investigator.
  • 2001-2016: Health and Society Scholars Program, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, Co-Principal Investigator

Current – Research

  • 2014-16: Modeling Complex Epidemics. NIH. Principal Investigator. ~275,000


  • 2012-14: Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Increased Autism Risk. NIH. Principal Investigator. ~275,000
  • 2010-12: The Dynamics of Psychotropic Prescription Patterns in the United States. NIH. Principal Investigator. ~150,000
  • 2007-12: The Social Determinants of the Autism Epidemic. NIH Pioneer Award. Principal Investigator. ~2,500,000
  • 2007-13: Interdisciplinary Graduate Training in the Social Sciences. Mellon Foundation. Principal Investigator. ~450,000
  • 2006-08: Healthy Adolescent Relationships: Temporal Dynamics, Normative Scripts and the Transition to Sex. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Research Grant. Principal Investigator. ~275,000
  • 2003-05: Transformations in Elite Recruitment Structures of the American Administrative State. National Science Foundation. Co-Principal Investigator. SES 03-21561. ~150,000
  • 2001-11: Health and Society Scholars Program. Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. Co-Principal Investigator. ~10,000,000
  • 2001-03: Narrative Networks: Oral Histories of the WTC Disaster. National Science Foundation. Co-Principal Investigator.  ~50,000
  • 2001-03: Narrative Networks: Oral Histories of the WTC Disaster. Rockefeller Foundation. Co-Principal Investigator.  ~300,000
  • 1998: Peer Influence and Adolescent Pregnancy. National Campaign for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy. Principal Investigator.  ~25,000
  • 1997: The Transition to First Intercourse. Office of Population Affairs. National Institutes of Health. Co-Principal Investigator.  ~50,000
  • 1993-97: The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Co-Investigator. National Institute for Child Health and Development. Co-Investigator.  ~34,000,000
  • 1993-97: Adolescent Social Networks and HIV Transmission. National Institute of Child Health and Development. Principal Investigator.  ~650,000
  • 1993: Demographic Response to a Changing Environment. National Institute of Child Health and Development.  Co-Investigator.  ~250,000
  • 1993: Modeling Life Histories.  University Research Council. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Principal Investigator.  ~10,000
  • 1991: Risk Behaviors for AIDS and Pregnancy in Adolescence. National Institute of Child Health Development.  Co-Investigator.  ~200,000
  • 1991: The Sociology of AIDS. Lupton Opportunity Fund. Institute of Research for Social Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  ~10,000

Teaching Awards

  • 2015: Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching, Columbia University
  • 2004: Sociology Graduate Student Association Teaching Award, Columbia University
  • 1992: Sociology Graduate Student Association Teaching Award, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • 1990: Sociology Graduate Student Association Teaching Award, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • 1988: Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • 1985: Hoopes Prize for Senior Advising, Harvard University
  • 1984: Hoopes Prize for Senior Advising, Harvard University
  • 1982: Excellence in Teaching Citation, Harvard University
  • 1981: Excellence in Teaching Citation, Harvard University
  • 1980: Excellence in Teaching Citation, Harvard University

Manuscript Reviewer (selected)

American Journal of Sociology                                    Social Forces               
American Sociological Review                                    Sociological Forum
Journal of Marriage and the Family                          Social Networks
Rose Monograph Series                                                 Social Science History
Family Planning Perspectives                                      Sociology of Education
Sociological Theory                                                         Political Science Review
Journal of the American Medical Association         Polity
Sociological Methodology                                             Journal of Adolescent Health
American Journal of Public Health                             New England Journal of Medicine
Journal of Theoretical Biology                                     British Journal of Medicine
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science   Science

Courses Taught

Course Title                                     Undergraduate                  Graduate

  • Social Networks                                              NYUAD, Columbia                 UNC, Columbia, LSE
  • Sociological Theory                                        Harvard, Columbia                              UNC, Columbia
  • Social Structure and Personality                   UNC
  • Social Movements                                           UNC                                                          UNC
  • Historical Sociology                                        UNC, Columbia
  • Economy and Society                                     UNC
  • Structure and Action                                      Harvard                                                   UNC, Columbia
  • Designs of Social Research                            NYUAD                                                    Columbia
  • Graduate Research Practicum                      Columbia
  • Senior Thesis Seminar                                  Columbia
  • Introduction to Sociology                             UNC, Columbia
  • Urban Sociology                                             Harvard
  • The Social World                                            Columbia
  • Qualitative Research Design                                                                                          Columbia

Editorial Boards

2010-11              Sociologica (International Editor)
2009-13             Annual Review of Sociology
2008-13             Pathways (Stanford Center for the Study of Inequality and Poverty)
1993-9502-5  American Journal of Sociology                        
1996-02             Kinship, Networks, and History (General Editor)
1994-99             Sociological Theory
1986-98             Social Forces (Book Review Editor, 1996-98)

University Service

  • 2014-2015: Search Committee, University Librarian 
  • 2014: Steering Committee, Presidential Fellows in Neuroscience
  • 2014: Chair, Columbia University Press, Advisory Board 
  • 2013: Chair, Columbia University Press Review Committee
  • 2013: Presidential Task on Precision Medicine
  • 2012-13: Chair, Columbia University Press Board
  • 2011-13: Chair, University Tenure and Promotions Committee
  • 2011-13: Executive Steering Committee, Columbia University Population Center
  • 2011: Executive Committee, Department of Epidemiology
  • 2011: Search Committee, SMS Chair, School of Public Health
  • 2011: Search Committee, Director, Longevity Center, Columbia University
  • 2010: Policy and Planning Committee, Arts and Sciences
  • 2009-10: History Department Review (ARC)
  • 2008-10: Executive Committees: ISERP, European Institute, SIG.
  • 2007-11: Co-Director, Global Health Research Center
  • 2007-08: Chair, Department of Statistics
  • 2006-07: Chair, Academic Review Committee
  • 2005-06: Chair, Economic and Political Development, Senior Search Committee, SIPA
  • 2004-05: Chair, Science and Technology Senior Search Committee, SIPA
  • 2004-06: Acting Director, Center for Historical Social Science
  • 2003-06: Academic Review Committee
  • 2003-06: Office for Responsible Conduct of Research, Advisory Committee
  • 2003-05: Columbia Travel Fellowship Committee
  • 2001: Executive Committees: Center for Social Intervention; Institute of Child Family Policy
  • 2001: School of Arts Tenure Review Committee
  • 2000: Executive Committee; School of International Affairs and Public Policy, Columbia
  • 2000: Multiple Search and Evaluation Committees, SIPA
  • 2000-02: C-STATT; Science and Technology
  • 2000-01: Committee on Faculty Size
  • 2000: University Search Committee – EVP for Libraries and Information Technology
  • 1998: Multiple AD Hoc Tenure Committees
  • 1996: Dean’s Committee to Review External Review Process
  • 1989-90: Chancellor’s Teaching Award Committee

Department Service

2015              Senior Search
2014-2016     Chair, reading committees (McFarland, Reich, Khan)
2014-15           Diversity Search Committee
2013                ARC Committee Chair
2011-12           Chair, Junior Faculty Recruitment Committee
2010-11           Chair, Junior Faculty Recruitment Committee
2009-10           Chair, Recruitment Committee, Admissions Committee
2008-09           Chair, Graduate Admissions Committee
2008-09           Chair, Senior Recruitment Committee
2007-08           Advisory Committee
2006-07           Space Committee
2006                Chair, Junior Faculty Recruitment Committee
2005-06, 08     Senior Recruitment Committee
2001-05           Chair
2000-01, 03     Chair, Junior Faculty Search Committee
2000                Chair, Admissions Committee; Undergraduate Program Design
2000-01, 03     Comprehensive Examination Committee (chair off and on)
1999-00           Chair, Graduate Program Design
1999-05           Director: Pro-Seminar in Sociology      
1998-99, 03     Chair, Senior Recruitment Committee
1996-97           Director, Honors Program
1995-97           Chair, Graduate Instructor Teaching Award Committee
1996-97           Strategic Planning Committee
1994-97           Faculty Advisory Committee: General College
1992-97           Director, Sociology Department Summer School
1992-95, 97     Associate Chair, Department of Sociology
1989-95           Executive Committee
1989-95           Graduate Admissions Committee (Chair 89, 90)

(very) Selected Professional Service (2000 – )

  • 2015: Academic Advisory Board, European School of Management and Technology
  • 2014: External Review: McGill University Department of Sociology
  • 2011-2014: IFFS: Sweden. Advisory Board
  • 2011: Oxford University, Elector, Nuffield College and Sociology Chair Search
  • 2011: NYUAD Provost Advisory Committee
  • 2011: NYUAD Institute For Research External Advisor
  • 2010: Oxford University, Sociology Department External Review
  • 2009: ARRA Reviewer, NIH Reviewer, NSF Reviewer
  • 2008: NIH Young Investigator Review Panel, NSF Reviewer
  • 2007: External Review: Department of Development Sociology, Cornell University
  • 2006: External Review: Social Science Research Center, University of Minnesota
  • 2006-08NSF Sociology Panels
  • 2004: NSF Human Dynamics Panel: Social Networks
  • 2003-06: National Advisory Panel, USS Constitution Museum
  • 2002: SSRC: External Advisory Network, Population Health; CASA
  • 2000: Miscellaneous Advisory Boards, Consultations, Assessments
  • 2000: Grant reviewer for W.T. Grant Foundation, NSF; RWJ, NIH etc.
  • 1995: Tenure and Promotion Reviews for: NYU, UC-San Diego, Yale, Carnegie-Mellon, Northwestern, Chicago, American Bar Foundation, UC-Irvine, Cornell, UC-Berkeley, Harvard,Arizona, Stanford, MichiganStanford GSB, Chicago GSB, Harvard Business School, Minnesota,MIT Sloan, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, UCLA, Baruch College, Ohio State, Northwestern Kellogg, and many others

Recent Keynote/Plenary/Honorary Talks

  • 2017: Hillsdale Lecture, University of Wisconsin
  • 2017: Elihu Katz Colloquium, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2016: Hollingshead Lecture, Yale University
  • 2015: National Academy of Sciences, Section 5 Lecture

Selected Consulting Activities

  • 2010-13: Culture and Community Initiative, Harvard Business School
  • 2012: NYUAD Research Initiative Advisory Board

Doctoral Dissertations (Chaired)

Name                                   General Topic                                     Year          Current Position

39. Anand Gopal                     Taliban Networks/State Building           2016!   Arizona State
38.  Phillip Brandt                  Data Science and Professionalization   2016    Mannhein^
37.  Eun Shin                           Resistance Networks                            2015    Memphis^
36.  Mathijs de Vaan               Adverse Drug Effects                           2015    Berkeley!
35.  Rozyln Redd                     STEM Major Choices                           2014!   Leicester
34.  Pilar Opazo                       Innovation and Invention                    2014^  Columbia
33.  Fabian Accommoneti        Art Worlds                                                     2014              LSE!
32.  Anna Mischele                    Witch Trials                                                   2013              Mannheim^
31.  Jen Kondo                              Arts Institutions and Urban Life            2012              Getty
30.  Uri Shwed                             The Structure of Scientific Consensus 2010!             Ben Gurion
29.  Hrag Balian                          Dynamics of Large-Scale Violence        2010^           Yale, SOM
28.  Mattias Smangs                  Symbolic Violence                                      2010!             Fordham
27.  Frederic Godart                   The Fashion System                                  2009!            INSEAD
26.  Richard Elovich                   Narcology in Uzbekhistan                       2008^           Columbia
25.  Marissa King                        Social Determinants of Autism              2008!            Yale, SOM
24.  Paolo Parigi                          Manufacturing Saints                                2008!           Stanford
23.  Eric Johnson                         Moving Pastors                                            2008^          Princeton
22.  Denise Milstein                   Art worlds and State Repression            2007!           Columbia
21.  Delia Baldassarri                 Political Polarization                                  2007!           Princeton
20.  Emily Erikson                      The Structure of the East India Trade   2006!           Yale
19.  Q. Van Doosselaere             Emergence of Markets                              2006             Bregal
18.  Vincent Lepinay                   Financial Organization                             2007!            MIT
17.  Tammy Smith                       Narrative/Identity in Ethnic Conflict   2006             United Nations
16.  Henning Hillmann              Models for Historical Change                 2004*          Mannheim
15.  Jennifer Lena                         The Social organization of Rap Music  2003!            Barnard
14.  Jorge Fontedevila                 Rationalities of Risk and HIV                 2002!            UCSF
13.  Jo Kim                                      Co-ethnicity and Globalization              2001^          Wellesley
12.  Hannah Brückner                Social Change and Gender Inequality   2000*         Yale
11.  Matt Bothner                         Market Structure and Product Price      2000+*      ESMT
10.  David Gibson                         The Dynamics of Conversation              1999!           Pennsylvania
9.    Joseph Gerteis                      The Knights of Labor in the US South   1999*         Minnesota
8.   James Moody                          Adolescent Social Structure                     1999+*       Duke
7.   David Cunningham              The Structure of Repression                    1999#         Brandeis
6.   Hyojoung Kim                        Dynamic Social Networks                         1998#         CSULA
5.   Katherine Stovel                    Discretionary Judgment                            1998#        Washington
4.   Rory McVeigh                         The KKK and the American Left             1997*         Notre Dame
3.   Kent Redding                          Southern Farmers’ Alliance                     1995*         Wisconsin-Milwaukee
2.   Glenn Deane                           The Demography of Inequality                1994*        SUNY-Albany
1.   Janet Hope                               Adolescent Social Networks                     1991*         Trinity

+= named chair, *=full professor, #=Associate Professor, !=Assistant Professor, ^=Post-Doctoral/Lecturer

Current Ph.D. Students: (Chair)   

Name                                         General Topic                                Completion Expected

Alix Rule                                              Historical Reversals                                        2017
Kinga Makovi                                      Abolition Movement                                       2017
Jose Atria                                             Big Data and Modernity                                  2017   
Ryan Hagen                                         Risk                                                                   2018
Kristin Murphy                                   Funeral Homes                                                 2016
Yarden Mauriuma                               Romanian Fascism                                           2017
Mark Hoffman                                     Scheduling                                                        2019
BK Lee                                                  Complex Networks                                           2018

Current and Past Collaborating Post-Doctoral Fellows

Name                          Project                                        Years              Current Position

19. Noam Zerubavel                Neural Networks                      2016-18                       Columbia
18. Christopher Muller            RWJ/HSS                                   2014-16                       Berkeley!
17. Adam Reich                        RWJ/HSS                                    2012-2014                  Columbia!
16. Helena Hansen                  NIH K-Award Mentee               2011-16                       NYU!
15. Jason Fletcher                   RWJ/HSS                                     2010-12                       Wisconsin*
14. Keely Cheslak-Postava    NIH Pioneer Award-Autism          2009-11                  Columbia
13. Betsy Levi Poluck                WT Grant Mentee                          2009-13                       Princeton!
12. Kerry Keyes                       NIH Pioneer Award-Autism           2009-12                Columbia!
11. Kate Strully                       NIH K-Award Mentee                       2009 –                 Albany*
10. Christine Fountain           NIH Pioneer Award-Autism           2008-12                Fordham!
9. Marissa King                     NIH Pioneer Award-Autism           2008-10                Yale SOM!
8. Ka-Yuet Liu                       NIH Pioneer Award-Autism           2008-12                UCLA!
7. Soumya Mazumdar           NIH Pioneer Award-Autism           2008-11                ANU
6. Gina Lovasi                        RWJ HSS                                                2007-09          Columbia!
5. Jimi Adams                        RWJ HSS                                                2008-09          Colorado!
4. Patrick Sharkey                 RWJ HSS/WT Grant Mentee            2008-11                NY*!
3. Mike Emch                         RWJ HSS                                               2005-07           UNC-CH*
2. Sara Shostak                      RWJ HSS                                               2005-07           Brandeis*
1. Molly Martin                      RWJ HSS                                               2004-06          Penn State*

! = Assistant Professor; * = Tenured