Peter Sahlins


Director, Interdisciplinary Studies Field (ISF), UGIS

Peter Sahlins has taught History at UC Berkeley since 1989. He is the author of several books, including most recently 1668: The Year of the Animal in France (New York: Zone Books, 2017). His work has spanned France and Spain from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, focusing on questions of boundaries and identities; immigration, naturalization, and citizenship; the history of forests and forestry in France; and most recently, human-animal relations. He regularly teaches the introductory European History survey course (Europe Since the Renaissance), as well as advanced and graduate courses in a wide variety of subjects. Since 2013, he has directed the Interdisciplinary Studies Field in the Undergraduate Division.


BA, Harvard College (1979)

PhD, Princeton University (1986)

Research Interests

Early Modern and Early Nineteenth-Century France, Social and Legal Histories of Nationality Law and Citizenship; Animal-Human Relations, Animal Studies, Environmental History, Science Studies


1668: The Year of the Animal in France (New York: Zone Books, 2017).

Unnaturally French: Foreign Citizens in the Old Regime and After (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004).

Et si on faisait payer les étrangers? Louis XIV, les immigrés, et quelques autres (Paris: Editions Flammarion, 1999) (co-authored with Jean-François Dubost).

Forest Rites: The War of the Demoiselles in Nineteenth-Century France (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994).

Boundaries: The Making of France and Spain in the Pyrenees (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989; paperback edition, 1991; Catalan translation, 1993; French translation, 1996).

Edited Journal Issues

Animals in French History, ed. with Christopher Pearson, special issue of French History, vol. 8, no. 2 (June 2014).

Mobility in French History, ed. with Carla Hesse, special issue of French Historical Studies, vol. 29, no. 3 (2006)

Recent Articles & Book Chapters

"The Beast Within: Animals and the First Xenotransfusion Experiments in France, 1667-68," Representations 129 (Winter 2015).

"A Story of Three Chameleons: The Animal between Literature and Science in the Age of Louis XIV," in Louisa MacKenzie, and Stephanie Posthumus, eds., French Thinking About Animals (Michigan State University Press, 2014): 15-30.

"Where the Sun Don't Shine: the Royal Labyrinth at Versailles, 1668-1674," in Pia Cuneo, ed., Animals and Early Modern Identity (Ashgate: Surrey, England and Burlington, VT, 2014): 67-88.

"The Royal Menageries of Louis XIV and the Civilizing Process Revisited," French Historical Studies 35 (2) (2012), 226-46.

"Boundaries and Identities in Catalonia," in Oscar Jané, ed., Del tractat dels Pireineus (1659) a l'Europa del segle XXI: Un model en construccio (in Catalan; Barcelona, 2010): 25-30.

"Citizenship and the Droit d'Aubaine in France: A Response to Simona Cerutti," in Annales: Histoire, Sciences Sociales 63, no. 2 (March-April 2008): 385-98.

"The Eighteenth-Century Revolution in Citizenship" in Migration Controls in the North Atlantic World: the Evolution of State Practices in Europe and the United States from the French Revolution to the Interwar Period, ed. A. Fahrmeir, O. Faron, and P. Weil (New York and Oxford: Berghan Books, 2002): 11-24.

"Nationalité avant la lettre: les pratiques de la naturalization sous l'Ancien Régime" Annales: Histoire, Sciences Sociales, vol. 55, no. 5 (2000) : 1081-1108 [in French].