This book is the result of an experiment in bringing together scholars from a range of different fields, providing them with a congenial setting for discussions in the form of the former residence of the “Sun King”, Louis XIV, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, just outside Paris, and ensuring a healthy supply of fine French wine. This experiment was kindly conducted by the eminent Fyssen Foundation from 4 to 7 October 2013. We are grateful for their support both for the conference and its organisation, and for the production of this book.
The Fyssen Conference was entitled “From Colonisation to Globalisation: Species Movements in Human History”. Like this book, its focus was on the myriad ways in which humans have shaped the movement of other species – and, as a result, ecosystems – throughout their evolutionary history from the Pliocene to the present day. We are very pleased that both the conference and the resultant book managed to attract a range of top scholars from diverse fields, including archaeology, biological anthropology, history, epidemiology, ecology, geography, and molecular genetics. The conference featured stimulating dialogue and debate, much of which has worked its way into this finished volume.
Participants in the Fyssen Conference were asked to write pre-circulated papers that subsequently became the basis for the book chapters gathered here. The chapters were compiled by Geneviève Chertier, Julie Rubin, and Laure Dufour from the Fyssen Foundation (and their assistance in this, as well as so many other aspects of conference organisation, is gratefully acknowledged), and benefitted from multiple rounds of feedback and revision, both from other conference participants and also from outside reviewers. We would like to express our gratitude to this large team of anonymous outside reviewers, as well as to the two anonymous referees who took the time to read through the entire volume and provide useful comments that have helped to further improve the book. We are also grateful to our editors at Cambridge University Press, Asya Graf and Beatrice Rehl, as well as the broader editorial team, for their advice, support, and important role in bringing the book to press.
Almost all of the original conference participants contributed a chapter to this book. One invited participant – George J. Armelagos – was unable to attend the conference for health reasons, and was subsequently prevented from contributing a chapter by his untimely passing.