Peter Bearman

Peter Bearman is the founding Director of INCITE, the co-founding director of the Oral History Master of Arts program, and the Jonathan R. Cole Professor of Social Science at Columbia University. In 2019 he was named President of The American Assembly. A specialist in network analysis and historical sociology, Bearman has authored over 60 peer-reviewed research publications, in addition to three books: Relations into Rhetorics: Local Elite Social Structure in Norfolk, England, 1540-1640 (ASA Rose Monograph Series, Rutgers University Press, 1993), Doormen (University of Chicago Press, 2005), and Working for Respect: Community and Conflict at Walmart, with Adam Reich (Columbia University Press, 2018). He has edited several others, including the Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology (Oxford University Press, 2011). Bearman is a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine. Bearman was awarded the NIH Director's Pioneer Award in 2007 to investigate the increased prevalence of autism. With J. Richard Udry, Bearman co-designed the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which was awarded the 2016 Golden Goose Prize. The recipient of numerous teaching awards, Bearman has chaired over 50 doctoral dissertations in sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1986-1998) and Columbia (1998 - Present). Bearman leads several INCITE initiatives, including the Obama Presidential Oral History, and the center’s REALM, Liberal Arts Education, and Understanding Autism projects. In addition to these projects, Bearman is currently working on the analysis of large textual corpora, and linking cognitive social neuroscience to fundamental elements of human social structure, specifically, pair-bonding and balance in small groups.

Research Interests



Add Health (National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health)
Administrative Data (state or national)
General Social Survey