Cannibalism Research Papers
Research papers on cannibalism first point to cannibalism discovered when Christopher Columbus landed in the New World in 1492. Columbus discovered that the Carib Indians of the Bahamas ate their male prisoners of war. In his reports he called these people caribales, which was soon corrupted to canibales, the term for the custom of eating human flesh. Have Paper Masters custom write a research paper on cannibalism for any anthropological region you need.
In most cultures, especially in the West, the practice of cannibalism is one of the last two great taboos (the other being incest). Cannibalism is a subject for our darkest fantasies, peppered by stories of the Donner Party, Thomas Harris’ fictional Hannibal Lecter and real-life monsters such as Jeffrey Dahmer.
Cannibalism as a regular Practice
Apart from these remote psychopathological instances, cannibalism as a regular practice is said to still exist in several remote regions of the globe:
- East Africa
- The jungle between Argentina and Paraguay
- Deep in the Brazilian rainforests region of Matto Grosso
- Remote regions of New Guinea
In fact, for many Westerners, the term “cannibalism” recalls to mind images from the remote areas of the South Pacific, a region generally classified as Polynesia (literally, “many islands”).
In 1772, Captain James Cook discovered the island of New Caledonia, inhabited by “good natured cannibals.” Seven years later, Cook was clubbed to death and eaten by natives in Hawaii, becoming perhaps “the most famous person in history to be a victim of this custom”. From that time, cannibalism as a regular practice has been reported throughout Polynesia, from Fiji to New Guinea, regions variously grouped together as Polynesia. In the mountainous regions of these mountains, cannibalism is said to be still practiced, “by inhabitants who [cling] obstinately to their ancient tradition of devouring human flesh long after the tradition had begun to fade, or had even been wholly stamped out, elsewhere”.
The Origins of Cannibalism
Anthropologists debate both the origins and the continuing existence of the practice of cannibalism, also called anthropophagy from the Greek words anthropos (man) and phagein (to eat). One anthropologist, Dr. Spier, wrote: “There is probably no instinctive aversion to eating [human flesh]; the horror shown by civilized, and by man primitive peoples was developed by convention.” But another anthropologist, Dr. Eric Miller, contended: “some additional ideological or emotional stimulus is required to overcome instinctive repugnance to cannibalism and confirm it into a regular practice”. William Arens, in his book The Man-Eating Myth (1979) maintained that the idea is so horrific that there has never been a society that routinely practiced cannibalism.