I was not really sure how to phrase this question, but ok, let me try nonetheless. My background is in natural sciences, but I have always been interested in history as well. Over past years I have also been reading some of the authors like Diamond, Tainter, Huntington, Fukuyama, and recently also Turchin (*). Based on this literature I formed some mixed views on this works above and what they teach us about dynamical processes in the history of human societies. I quite liked the approach taken by Turchin, but then again I should be aware of my potential biases.
Based on that, I would be interested in knowing more about:
- is there a uniform academic field(s) of research that e.g. these authors could be categorized in, or are most of these individual disjointed approaches in what seem as related subjects?
- are there specialized papers, articles, journals for this kind of fields, topics? Are there regular conferences/debates/meetings organized on the subject?
- what is the current stage of using approaches like the study of dynamical systems (in the broadest sense) in the modeling of historical processes?
- are there groups and departments at the universities and institutes that use math. modeling, and computational sciences, to study topics in history (or sociology for that matter) (like e.g. Turchin)
- are there some mainstream views in the field(s) on these subjects of dynamical approaches to study history or is the bulk of the discussion still at a level of questioning the feasibility of these concepts?
I was hoping to get a bit wider perspective on the subject here, so I would quite appreciate any comments/views/reading suggestions.
(*) I do not want to imply that the list of authors is in any way representative, it is rather my personal random cross-section of the matter.
Diamond: Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse,
Tainter: The Collapse of Complex Societies,
Huntington: Clash of Civilizations,
Fukuyama: The Origins of Political Order, Political Order and Political Decay,
Turchin: Historical Dynamics, War and Peace and War, Secular Cycles.
Edit II (Feb/2020)
I have recently stumbled upon an article by Alessandro Maini published in a jurnal of Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, giving a critical review of Turchin's "Historical dynamics" approach, referenced above. Discussions, as well as references in the article, are related to my original question.
Maini, A. Biophys Econ Sust (2020), vol. 5(1), pages 1-21: On Historical Dynamics by P. Turchin