Endangered Danger: Christianity, Affect, and Harmless Snakes in Samoa


The Candoia bibroni (Pacific Boa), is a non-venomous Samoan snake that recently become an endangered species, possibly due to human killing on sight. This interdisciplinary research investigates how Pacific Boa came to be perceived as dangerous animals that need to be killed. Following snake tracks through the history of Samoa and into the present, this research suggests that the relationship between Samoans and the Pacific Boa questions the simple binaries of real/imagined, material/semiotic, subjective/objective, and material/immaterial. Particularly with the introduction of Christianity by missionaries in the early-1800s, the Pacific Boa snake came to inhabit the liminal space between these apparent dichotomies

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This paper was published in World Learning.

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