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Bates College

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Samoa: Social and Environmental Change in Oceania


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.


Animal Sciences | Biodiversity | Christianity | Pacific Islands Languages and Societies | Philosophy | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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