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Christopher Andrew Bail
Professor of Sociology
Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy


Ph.D., Harvard University (2011)


Chris Bail is Professor of Sociology, Public Policy, and Data Science at Duke University, where he directs the Polarization Lab. A leader in the emerging field of computational social science, Bail’s research examines fundamental questions of social psychology, extremism, and political polarization using social media data, bots, and the latest advances in machine learning.

Bail is the recipient of Guggenheim and Carnegie Fellowships. His research appears in top journals, such as Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Sociological Review. His book, Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream, received three awards and resulted in an invitation to address the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Bail has also written for the Sunday Op-Ed page of the New York Times and The Washington Post Blog. His research has been covered in more than fifty media outlets, including Wired, The Atlantic, Scientific American, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, Vox, Daily Kos, National Public Radio, NBC News, C-Span, and the BBC. Bail regularly lectures to audiences in government, business, and the non-profit sector. He also  consults with social media platforms struggling to combat polarization.

​Bail is passionate about building the field of computational social science. He is the Editor of the Oxford University Press Series in Computational Social Science and the co-founder of the Summer Institutes in Computational Social Science, which are free training events designed to introduce junior scholars to the field that are held concurrently in seven universities around the world each year. Chris also serves on the Advisory Council to the National Science Foundation's Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, and helped create Duke's Interdisciplinary Data Science Program.

​Funding for Bail's work has been provided by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation.

Representative Publications

Political sectarianism in America. Science (New York, N.Y.) (10/2020)
Assessing the Russian Internet Research Agency's impact on the political attitudes and behaviors of American Twitter users in late 2017. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (01/2020)
Exposure to opposing views on social media can increase political polarization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (09/2018)