Talk:Cannibalism

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Sensory warfare[edit]

It is a form of alternative sensory warfare used to humiliate enemies, practiced in front of survivors to intimidate them.(see: "Sensory Worlds in Early America")

"As used to demonize colonized or other groups"[edit]

I think this section needs improving. While allegation of cannibalism was used to demonize various "others", the examples here seem dubious and/or not sufficiently explained. (And specific known examples of false allegations are not actually given, other than a contextless link to Blood Libel.

  • In antiquity, Greek reports of cannibalism, (often called anthropophagy in this context) were related to distant non-Hellenic barbarians, or else relegated in Greek mythology to the 'primitive' chthonic world that preceded the coming of the Olympian gods
I know the Greeks could be pretty racist towards "barbarians", but as far as I'm aware, the main allegations of canibalism were made against just one group far away (the so-called Androphagi), not any of thr barbarians the Greeks were either colonizing or in conflict with. So this is more likely to be based on rumours of things far away, rather than an attempt to demonize anyone or justify conquest. As for sentance about the pre-Olympian gods, I don't see how that is relevent (unless there is a claim that the Olympians, Chronos, etc are real, or at least based on real peoples).
  • All South Sea Islanders were cannibals so far as their enemies were concerned.
Which "enemies" does this mean? Is it talking about European attitudes to South Sea Islanders, or South Sea Islanders' attitudeds to other South Sea Islanders?
  • When the whaleship Essex was rammed and sunk ... the captain opted to sail 3000 miles ... because he had heard the Marquesans were cannibals.
That wasn't an attempt to demonize anyone - it was simply fear based on assumptions about cannibals. (And the following paragraph indicates that they were cannibals - but the mistake was to assume that therefore they would be hostile).

I don't know enough about the subject to rewrite it myself, but I would suggest a few changes:

  • Change the section title. "Stories of cannibalism in far-away places that you don't go to" and "Allegations of cannibalism against people you don't like" are different things, albeit related.
  • Herodotus' description of the andropophagi is worth noting as an example of the former, but probably not of the latter (Herodotus seems to have been quite respectful towards foreigners, and if this story did begin as slander, the blame probably lies with some of the tribes living between Greece and the alleged cannibals).
  • The Greek myths about Chronos and Tantalus etc are probably irrelivent and should be removed.
  • The details about the Wessex, and Melville's times with the Marquesans should be retained, but as an example of people misjudging cannibals, rather than unfounded accusations of cannibalism against people they don't like.
  • William Arens theories should be described in more detail, as should criticisms. (Checking the linked article, he seems to go beyond the proven fact that some allegations of cannibalism were false and malicious (e.g. the Blood Libel), and clsims that all reports of cannibalism ever are false).
  • Michel de Montaigne's essay "Of cannibals" should be discussed in more detail, assuming it is significant - from our article on it, I'm not sure that it is (let alone that it "introduced a new multicultural note in European civilization").
Iapetus (talk) 16:22, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

I updated this section with an example of the use of cannibalism to demonize. But, I'd like to see more examples. Kdbeall (talk) 16:26, 29 March 2016 (UTC)

Aren's work has been totally debunked. It's bizarre that the page about the book makes this clear but that this page doesn't. ALongDream (talk) 05:31, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

Some of his research may be inaccurate, but at a high level it helped raise that accusations of cannibalism have been used as propaganda and justification for colonialism. Please see Eskildsen's article for an example of this. Kdbeall (talk) 19:35, 5 August 2016 (UTC)

Nga Puhi cannibalism by Hongi Hika so very wrong[edit]

As a decedent of Hongi Hika I was astonished to read this " In another instance, on July 11, 1821 warriors from the Nga Puhi tribe killed 2,000 enemies and remained on the battlefield "eating the vanquished until they were driven off by the smell of decaying bodies".[71]".. As ive never heard of this i decided to to some research source 71 are in no way citation as evidence of the claims made in this article. Now what actually happened was even as source 71 states is that 2000 prisoners were taken from the rival tribe, we did not sit on the battlefield eating the dead until we were driven off by the smell. [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Deadlymute (talkcontribs) 01:51, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/1966/hongi-hika