chapter
cannibalism
Pages 2

The assumption that others, representing different times and places, engaged in cannibalism has been a pervasive feature of Western social thought. As such, the cannibal image has made its inevitable way into contemporary anthropology. In the process, every exotic human group from the Highlands of Papua New Guinea to the Lowlands of South America has been obliged to assume the man-eating mantle as a result of western contact. Initiating the trend in the fifth century BC, Herodotus labelled the Scythians anthropophagi (man eaters). Marco Polo also encountered cannibals in the thirteenth century during his travels to the Orient, likewise Christopher Columbus in his voyages to the New World, and eventually anthropologists spreading out through the then colonial world.