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.