The charge of cannibalism is a classic trope via which Europeans have historically legitimized imperialism. In recent decades, cannibalism has featured in critiques of anthropology and in acrimonious debates about when anthropophagy really happened and the expertise required to establish that it had happened. Kelly L. Watson's Insatiable Appetites investigates the mutual influences of imperial contexts and discourses of cannibalism in the North Atlantic. It seeks in particular “the role that gender played in labeling a group cannibalistic and in the consequences of this label,” which “was, and continues to be, simultaneously a racialized and gendered figure” (p. 8). Watson argues for “a recentering of gender in the analysis of the discourse of cannibalism,” a historiography that has typically focused “on the connection between cannibalism, savagery, and race” (pp. 2–3). While barbarians were those who defied the norms of “gendered power and...
Book Review|August 01 2018
Insatiable Appetites: Imperial Encounters with Cannibals in the North Atlantic World
Hispanic American Historical Review (2018) 98 (3): 516-518.
Surekha Davies; Insatiable Appetites: Imperial Encounters with Cannibals in the North Atlantic World. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 August 2018; 98 (3): 516–518. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-6933666
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