I was born in Missouri in 1945 and grew up in the 1950s in a small town on the rolling hills and plains of northern Kansas just a few miles south of Nebraska. After receiving my PhD from the University of Nebraska in 1973, I taught for thirty-one years at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, one of the Pennsylvania state universities near Pittsburgh. After retiring from full-time teaching in 2006, I spent a year affiliated with the anthropology department at the University of Colorado, and then in 2007 moved further west to Southern California, where I was a visiting professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Riverside. I maintain an affiliation with UCR at the Institute for Research on World-Systems. However, I now live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in order to be near my children and grandchildren.
I am a comparative sociologist and sociological and anthropological theorist who has authored or edited 12 books in 19 editions and nearly sixty articles in journals and edited collections. Most of my work has been devoted to the comparative study of the entire range of human societies, especially the study of long-term social evolution. More recently, I have sought to contribute to the unification of the social and natural sciences by drawing on sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, human behavioral ecology, cultural materialism, and social evolutionism Although officially a sociologist, I feel equally at home in anthropology and much of the research and writing I do draws heavily on anthropological literature and cross-cultural data banks assembled by anthropologists. Truth to tell, if I was doing my career over again I would probably become an anthropologist (or perhaps an evolutionary biologist). I also draw on historical literature and data and have a fascination with the societies of the ancient world.I believe that sociology and anthropology need to get back to their emphasis on science and the empirical testing of scientific theories. In this regard, comparative data from sociology, anthropology, history, and archaeology are essential. I favor a comparative science of all human societies.
Click on one of the pages in the upper-left-hand corner to view my CV, PDF copies of selected articles and book contents, current and projected research projects, and course materials.