Christopher Andrew Bail

Christopher Andrew Bail

Professor of Sociology


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 the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science Advances, 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.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Harvard University 2011

Selected Grants

Summer Institute in Computational Social Science: 2020, 2021 and 2022 Sloan Foundation awarded by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2022

Summer Institute in Computational Social Science: 2020, 2021 and 2022 Sloan Foundation awarded by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2022

Summer Institute in Computational Social Science awarded by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2020

Political Polarization and Social Media Echo Chambers: A Mixed-Method Field Experiment on Twitter awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2019

Summer Institute on Computational Social Science Russell Sage awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2019

Civil Society Organizations, Social Media, and Public Attention awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2016

Bail, C. A., et al. “Prestige, proximity, and prejudice: how google search terms diffuse across the world.” American Journal of Sociology, vol. 124, no. 5, Mar. 2019, pp. 1496–548. Scopus, doi:10.1086/702007. Full Text

Bail, Christopher A., et al. “Exposure to opposing views on social media can increase political polarization..” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 115, no. 37, Sept. 2018, pp. 9216–21. Epmc, doi:10.1073/pnas.1804840115. Full Text Open Access Copy

Bail, Christopher A., et al. “Using Internet search data to examine the relationship between anti-Muslim and pro-ISIS sentiment in U.S. counties..” Science Advances, vol. 4, no. 6, June 2018. Epmc, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aao5948. Full Text Open Access Copy

Bail, C. A., et al. “Channeling Hearts and Minds: Advocacy Organizations, Cognitive-Emotional Currents, and Public Conversation.” American Sociological Review, vol. 82, no. 6, Dec. 2017, pp. 1188–213. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0003122417733673. Full Text

Bail, C. A. “Taming Big Data: Using App Technology to Study Organizational Behavior on Social Media.” Sociological Methods and Research, vol. 46, no. 2, Mar. 2017, pp. 189–217. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0049124115587825. Full Text

McDonnell, T. E., et al. “A Theory of Resonance.” Sociological Theory, vol. 35, no. 1, Mar. 2017, pp. 1–14. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0735275117692837. Full Text

Bail, Christopher Andrew. “Combining natural language processing and network analysis to examine how advocacy organizations stimulate conversation on social media..” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 113, no. 42, Oct. 2016, pp. 11823–28. Epmc, doi:10.1073/pnas.1607151113. Full Text

Bail, Christopher A. “Cultural carrying capacity: Organ donation advocacy, discursive framing, and social media engagement..” Social Science & Medicine (1982), vol. 165, Sept. 2016, pp. 280–88. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.01.049. Full Text

Bail, Christopher A. “Emotional Feedback and the Viral Spread of Social Media Messages About Autism Spectrum Disorders..” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 106, no. 7, July 2016, pp. 1173–80. Epmc, doi:10.2105/ajph.2016.303181. Full Text

Bail, C. A. “The public life of secrets: Deception, disclosure, and discursive framing in the policy process.” Sociological Theory, vol. 33, no. 2, Jan. 2015, pp. 97–124. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0735275115587388. Full Text