Lily Balloffet

2020 Hellman Fellow

Assistant Professor; Languages and Applied Linguistics
UC Santa Cruz

Project Title: American Venom: What Snakes Tell Us about our Interconnected Hemisphere

Project Description: American Venom: Snakes & Our Interconnected Hemisphere tells a history of inter-American entanglements through the lens of human and animal mobilities. I argue that venomous snakes serve as a natural fulcrum for investigating the movement of capital, bodies, and forms of knowledge in the Americas over the past hundred years. The study ranges from an examination of early-twentieth century encounters between snakes, humans, and nascent communities of medical research, to the analysis of contemporary webs of connectivity that link people, animals, and geographies. Moving beyond a strictly linear temporal framework for telling the story of American Venom, each chapter focuses on a genus of venomous snake as a pivot point enfolded within multiple temporalities, places, and inter-species connections.